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Pizza war: Papa John’s gets burned by competitors after NFL comments

Papa John's founder John Schnatter at Papa John's founder John Schnatter

Papa John's founder John Schnatter says the NFL anthem controversy is hurting pizza sales. | AP Images

Papa John’s is getting burned by other pizza companies after the pizza chain blamed its lack of sale growth on being associated with the NFL.

It all started Wednesday when Papa John’s founder and CEO John Schnatter said the NFL’s leadership and how its handling the anthem protests was hurting his business.

But Yum Brands, the owner of Pizza Hut, said that’s not the case for them.

Yum Brands CEO Greg Creed said Thursday that he hasn’t witnessed any negative effects on sales from sponsoring the NFL and other sports leagues.

“We’re not seeing impact on any of that on our business,” Creed told Business Insider’s Kate Taylor.

Pizza Hut is affiliated with the NFL, MLB and NCAA and Creed said sponsoring the sports leagues has been beneficial for their business.

Pizza Hut is the latest pizza company to roast Papa John’s.

DiGiorno Pizza, owned by Nestle, trolled Papa John’s on Twitter Thursday hinting that its sales were fine.

DiGiorno then responded to its own tweet, writing: “Better Pizza. Better Sales.” — a play on Papa John’s slogan.

Papa John’s responded “#NewTwitterBio” in a tweet that has since been deleted. Papa John’s changed its bio to read: “Frozen pizza = the pizza equivalent of a participation trophy.”

But DiGiorno, which changed its own Twitter bio to “It’s Not Delivery. It’s DiGiorno. And It’s Kinda Petty.” on Thursday, had the last laugh delivering a stinger at the end.

“Let us know when you have #NewPizza,” the frozen pizza brand tweeted.

As of Friday, it appears DiGiorno hasn’t quite let it go yet. It sent out another tweet reading, “Sell really good pizza. #HowToBePopularIn4Word.” The hashtag was trending nationally at the time of the tweet.

Follow me on Twitter: @madkenney