Following the news that Papa John's founder, John Schnatter had stepped down as CEO, fans from both sides of the debate sounded off on social media. While some rejoiced in the company's decision, there were also a few voices of support.
The move came almost two months after he suggested that NFL players' national anthem protests were behind his company's declining sales.
Earlier Thursday, Schnatter announced that he will remain with the company as chairman. However, Chief Operating Officer Steve Ritchie will be promoted to CEO. The change will go into effect on Jan. 1.
Although Papa John's didn't specifically say why Schnatter was leaving, the move comes almost two months after he criticized the NFL for not stopping its players from protesting during the national anthem. The company is a major NFL sponsor, and Schnatter suggested that the association was hurting his company.
In 2012, Schnatter also came under fire for his comments on Obamacare, suggesting it would increase the price of pizza.
There were two different reasons Twitter users gave for continuing or starting a boycott of the company. Some said they'd stop ordering Papa John's because Schnatter was leaving, others because he is staying as chairman.
Time to boycott, Papa Johns and the NFL.— Dustin Whiteley (@Whiteley_Dj) December 21, 2017
You kick out the only person that is telling the truth about how the NFL is hurting your product. Bad move.#papajohns
#PapaJohns' Papa John Schnatter feeling like he has to step away (from a company he built from the ground up) because of his opinion on the #NFL's handling of the protests is...IMO...Absolutely ridiculous. Boycott this Boycott that because someone has different opinion. Stupid!— Will Richardson (@spinning_will) December 22, 2017
Support for Schnatter
Most of Schnatter's support came from Twitter users who included #MAGA in their tweets, which stands for "Make America Great Again," a slogan often used by President Donald Trump. Some suggested boycotting Papa John's, although Schnatter isn't actually leaving the company. He's staying on as chairman.
Sad to see @PapaJohns cave to the PC bullies on the left with the resignation of their founder as CEO. John was right to criticize the idiots at the @NFL. Guess I won’t buy their #pizza anymore. #papajohns #MAGA https://t.co/Ym0DHMTNXL— Joel58271 (@Joel58271) December 22, 2017
Another Twitter user called it a "tragedy" that Schnatter was leaving.
It's an American tragedy that the Papa John's CEO is being forced to step down for doing nothing more than defending our flag and all that it stands for. Shame on you #PapaJohns. You just earned yourself a boycott.— Rebekah Worsham ?? (@RebekahWorsham) December 22, 2017
The meme-makers came out in force for Schnatter's departure, with plenty of plays on the company's slogans.
Thoughts on Pizza
Some think the real reason for Papa John's decline in sales was because their pizza isn't really that great, not because of the CEO's politics.
Papa John just stepped down. What are the chances Peyton finally gets to be the big forehead on the logo like he's wanted this whole time?!December 21, 2017
Is this going to really change anything culturally at #papajohns? The pizza product is bad, the customer service is terrible and delivery sucks. Local pizza is the way to go!— K E N N E C T E D (@KENNECTED) December 21, 2017
There were more than a few jokes made at Papa John's expense.
You’re all just going to tweet this venom like the dude didn’t revolutionize the garlic butter dipping sauce game? #PapaJohns— Torio Van Grol (@TorioVanGrol) December 22, 2017
Better ingredients, better CEOs#papajohns— Jon McBrine (@jonmcbrine) December 21, 2017
Where's Peyton Manning When You Need Him?
Another idea some have had is replacing Schnatter with Peyton Manning, who frequently appeared in commercials with him.
Go ahead and give Peyton Manning the #PapaJohns CEO job. ? “Papa Johns you taste so good.” ?— Chip Hoosier (@chiphoosier) December 21, 2017
There were plenty of more thoughts on Schnatter stepping down.
This person supports the other big pizza chains — Pizza Hut and Dominos — over Papa John's.
Yes.December 22, 2017
THIS. . .
A Gazillion Times Over.
Papa John’s should get that Koch man baby to be their new spokesperson and end each commercial with him standing over a bunch of pies in a shitty pepperoni shirt and doing that weird fucking hand gesture. #PapaJohns— JT Parham (@jtparham13) December 22, 2017
Bad product. Everyone I know has gotten belly ache from #PapaJohns ?. No wonder they practically give it away.— Betty Boogaloo (@BettyBoogaloo) December 22, 2017
New CEO Ideas0comments
Aside from Manning, Twitter users had other ideas for new CEOs.
With all the #PapaJohns pizzas I consumed in college I only assume I’m the next logical choice as there new CEO. I’ll start work immediately. Signed, the new Papa Johns CEO— Ｋｅｌｓｅｙ Ｇｕｎｎ (@kelseygunn) December 22, 2017
New CEO of #PapaJohns will be.....
Tom F'ing Jurich!! https://t.co/TeHJgfqxfX— Beastachu (@Beast502Mode) December 22, 2017
Photo credit: Michael Hickey/Getty Images