Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder allegedly wanted their favorite pizza man to get Roger Goodell fired.
John Schnatter — the former CEO of Papa John’s, who did, indeed, take a swipe at the NFL commissioner before himself resigning in disgrace — opened up recently to Sportscasting and appeared to confirm suspicions that some of the NFL’s most powerful owners wanted Goodell out.
In November 2017, Schnatter called out Goodell during a conference call, blaming Papa John’s falling stock on the NFL’s protests during the national anthems. TV ratings were down, and there was a feeling by some that the kneeling was to blame.
“NFL leadership has hurt Papa John’s shareholders,” Schnatter said then of Goodell, who did not prevent players from kneeling to protest racism and police brutality.
In his first known public comments about that conference call, the former face of Papa John’s, the NFL’s longtime official pizza sponsor, suggested the owners of the Cowboys and the Washington Commanders told Schnatter to publicly attempt to get Goodell fired.
“They called me and said, ‘You need to take this guy out,’ ” Schnatter told Sportscasting late last month. “‘You’re the No. 1 sponsor of the league, as far as notoriety and acceptance and association. Everybody loves you, they love Peyton [Manning, a Papa John’s sponsor]. We hate Goodell.’”
In Schnatter’s version of events, he declined Jones and Synder’s wishes, saying: “This is not my job to fire your commissioner. He works for you.” So, according to Schnatter, he was softer, simply calling out leadership, but it was framed as a direct shot nonetheless.
Eventually, Goodell got his lucrative extension anyway in 2017, and Schnatter resigned from his post atop Papa John’s in 2018 after using the N-word on a conference call.