Papa John's added that it is "open to ideas from all".
"The NFL has hurt us", the pizza powerhouse's pitchman John Schnatter explained two weeks ago.
The pizza company was swiftly criticized by many for pressuring the league to suppress the player protests, which began as a way to bring attention to police brutality and racial injustice in America.
The chain then used an emoji for the middle finger, "those guys". The controversy kicked off after San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem a year ago, inspiring other players to engage in similar forms of protest to recognize racial inequality and police brutality. While it's not required, Commissioner Roger Goodell has made it clear he wants players to stand. More players began kneeling after President Trump said at an Alabama rally last month that team owners should get rid of players who protest during the anthem.
"The NFL has hurt us", Schnatter said on the call.
Despite the pizza chain's efforts Tuesday to address the criticism over those remarks, some social media users weren't convinced.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported Cowboys owner Jerry Jones-who owns multiple Papa John's stores-might have been behind Schnatter's words. "I'm confused, because your CEO definitely blamed the National Football League protests for poor sales and criticized the NFL's leadership for not squelching the protests sooner".
In a three-tweet mea culpa, the Louisville-based company did a reversal and said it now supports players' right to protest.
The NFL couldn't immediately be reached for comment late Tuesday.
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