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Papa John’s CEO apology latest in NFL anthem protest controversy

The Papa John’s pizza CEO account issued an apology on Tuesday night for comments he made about NFL players kneeling during the national anthem.

CEO John Schnatter had blamed slow pizza sales on the national anthem protests , saying in a Nov. 1 earnings call that “NFL leadership has hurt Papa John’s shareholders” and that the protests “should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago.”

RELATED: In rural Ohio, rivals take a knee — for an after-game prayer

In a tweet, Papa John’s issued a statement Tuesday saying “The statements made on our earnings call were describing the factors that impact our business and we sincerely apologize to anyone that thought they were divisive. That definitely was not our intention.”

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The national anthem protests have sparked reaction throughout the season in the Dayton area as well, as a local restaurant owner came out against the protests.

Bill DeFries, the owner of a Beef O’Brady’s restaurant in Beavercreek, announced in September that he would not air NFL games at his restaurant if players continued to kneel during the national anthem. DeFries reported that the decision was met with a lot of local support.

More coverage of the protests and reactions:

SEPT. 27: Beef O’Brady’s owner won’t air NFL games as players protest

SEPT. 29: Area restaurant boycotting NFL games draws large crowd

OCT. 1: NFL-boycotting restaurant owner says business is booming

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