The pizza chain said that it supports "the players' movement to create a new platform for change" but that it also believes that "as Americans, we should honor our anthem".
A third tweet from the company said that going forward, it will work with the National Football League and its players to "find a positive way forward", and is open to ideas from all, "except neo-nazis" - throwing in a middle finger emoji. "Except neo-nazis -[middle finger] those guys", read the third tweet.
The comments spurred a backlash on social media, made the company the butt of jokes on late night shows and forced it to distance itself from neo-Nazi groups. Despite the NFL's ratings decline, Rhoten described the league as "still a gargantuan source of reach and benefit for brands" and said, "I can't imagine we would walk away from the NFL, ever".
"The NFL has hurt us", Schnatter said then. "The NFL has hurt us", Schnatter said.
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Many fans on both sides of the national anthem protests debate have took to boycotting the NFL - with some saying they refuse to watch another game until Colin Kaepernick is signed, while others say they'll continue to boycott the NFL until the anthem protests end.
Papa John's replied to some of the responses, acknowledging that it "should have acted sooner" following Schnatter's comments.
Papa John's late Tuesday chose to tweet a middle-finger emoji aimed at neo-Nazis who are-reportedly-co-opting the chain pizza.
So, that's certainly more of a "sorry you were offended" apology than a "sorry, we screwed up" apology, which is something. It became obvious over the last week people didn't understand our position. "We should have followed our gut from the beginning, but followed advice not to speak up - it's time we are clear".