Peyton Manning, John Schnatter and Roger Goodell walk into a bar…

Peyton-Manning-Papa-JohnsFor hard working blue collar fans of the NFL with a case of the munchies on a Sunday afternoon, there’s no better snack to hit the spot than fresh, hot pizza. And what better pizza place to ring up than the NFL’s official sponsor, none other than John Schnatter’s brand, Papa John’s?

No doubt you will see these cheesy commercials — I know, bad pun, but I digress. You’ve seen the ones, featuring back and forth between Papa John himself and future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning — who is usually acting like it was really his idea to give away millions of free pizzas, and reluctantly Mr. Schnatter agrees with this “brilliant” business strategy. Not only is Peyton Manning a paid spokesman for Papa John’s, but he is now also the proud owner of 21 franchises throughout the Denver area.

What bothers me most about this NFL / Papa John’s partnership is the blatant ignorance and greed on display by Mr. Schnatter. He has publicly stated that “Obamacare,” if not repealed, will force him and his franchisees to cut employee hours and raise prices to make up for all the “lost revenue.”  The NFL’s willingness to sign someone like him on as an official sponsor, in the face of many of their fans, really shows that they don’t care about anything but their bottom line.

A Politico report from last year drummed up this beauty of a Schnatter quote from a conference call he had with Papa John’s shareholders:

“We’re not supportive of Obamacare, like most businesses in our industry, and if Obamacare is in fact not repealed, we will find tactics to shallow out any Obamacare costs and core strategies to pass that cost onto consumers in order to protect our shareholders’ best interests.”

Is this really the image the NFL wants to be in bed with? I have to ask, if it’s so easy for Papa John’s to give away a couple million free pizzas, why is it so hard to provide a better living wage and health care to your employees? You don’t even have to do the math to know that 2 million free pizzas at about 12 to 15 bucks a pop could go a long way towards covering those costs he so desperately claims his business model can’t support.

I personally find his stance on the healthcare law to be absolutely reprehensible. When he announced that the only interests he truly cares about are those of his shareholders, it just cut at the heart of the problem. To him, like with too many corporate CEOs these days, workers are nothing more than numbers that count against a bottom line. Whether they are healthy and happy is really of little concern, and if he can squeeze every last drop of profit by cutting hours and making sure employees don’t get healthcare, then so be it. He won’t see it from his “house.”

This past June the NFL announced that they won’t assist with promoting Obamacare, but thankfully that didn’t stop the Baltimore Ravens from jumping on board. The Ravens have signed on to help promote the drive to get people signed up in the state of Maryland, with Lt. Gov Anthony Brown announcing:

“Research shows that 71 percent of the uninsured population in Maryland have watched, attended or listened to a Ravens game in the past 12 months and the partnership will provide Maryland Health Connection with the opportunity to reach and engage fans while making them aware of the new opportunity they have for health coverage beginning this fall through the health insurance marketplace.”

A Ravens spokesman has said that more details will emerge on the partnership soon, but the overall aim of their involvement is to “connect with Maryland residents about the importance of developing a health coverage game plan.”

As disappointing as it is that the NFL has rejected the president’s invitation to jump on board in support of the Affordable Care Act, it’s equally disappointing to see the NFL continue its partnership with someone like “Papa” John Schnatter, when a good portion of both of their “target demographics” could greatly benefit from having healthcare. Especially when seeing that 71% of Maryland’s uninsured have watched or listened to the Ravens and at least some of them should benefit from these PSA’s. Honestly, I think that number could be less of an anomaly and more of a trend across the entire NFL fan base. I am not saying it’s the NFL’s responsibility to push healthcare on those that support their product, but it would be refreshing to see them take a more proactive stance in the health of not only their players, but their fans as well. When you think about it, it’s a win/win for the NFL, considering that the longer their fans live the longer they will likely monetarily support the product.

This is something that the Ravens franchise owners seem to get, so why is it the rest of the league is reluctant to sign on?

Michael Wunderlich

Mike Wunderlich is a single father originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania currently residing in Richmond, VA.He is the founder of Center Ice News (a popular Facebook group dedicated to hockey news), and a self proclaimed professional appreciator of music and art. You can follow him on Twitter @mwunderlichFP.

Comments

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  • Pipercat

    His pizza gives me agita… So does he…

  • Bill Williams

    Vote with your feet. Walk away from this over-processed overpriced cheese and crackers

    • Pipercat

      Indeed!

  • bob

    We will not touch a Papa John’s Pizza with a 10 foot pole. Anyone giving away pizza to promo his business, that will not give his employees a fair shake will never earn my business….. And Peyton… Shame on you.

    • ironman2819

      The last time I ate a Papa Johns pizza was the day before he made that announcement…. and that will be the last time I ever support him. As for Peyton… well I only root for Denver when I need them to beat New England (or similar strategic game) otherwise I couldn’t be bothered other than to see former Texans play well… just as long as it isn’t against us…

      • CappyM

        and you should support your local pizza shop anyway…

      • ironman2819

        There are at least 6 in a two mile radius of where I live so I am covered!

  • Kim Wilson-Young

    It would be a better image to take care of their workers than give away 2 million pizzas. I WILL NEVER BUY pappa john PIZZA. I’ll change my mine when you change your attitude.

  • lasparky11

    Here I thought Peyton Manning was a stand up guy. Guess he is as bad as Schnatter. Manning could give all of his franchise employees a raise & medical without hurting his bottom line. Manning is worth millions now.

  • Deb4

    the NFL also said no to it’s youngest fans. They were asked to support Childhood Cancer awareness month in September by having a GOLD ribbon painted on the fields or players wearing gold armbands like they do Pink for breast cancer in October. Seems like the NFL really only cares about making money

  • BC

    Hate Papa Johns, but those Pizza’s do not cost them 12 bucks when they give them away. 12 bucks is what they charge. It probably cost them less than a million dollars to give away 2 million pizzas. Hell, it is probably far less. Healthcare costs far more than that. I don’t agree with what they are doing but the argument that they can afford to pay for healthcare if they can afford to give away pizza isn’t going to get you far.

    • Steeler4Life

      Its not about how much the Pizza costs, its about the money that he COULD bring in compared to the healthcare costs! Basically, if you add up 2 million pizzas and an avg of 13 bucks a pop, that would easily make up the amount that Papa Johns would spend on Healthcare costs his company would have to pay into. So they (Papa Johns) are willing to give away 2 million free pizza’s, to try and get more business, at the cost of a possible 26 million dollar revenue, but cant pay for the healthcare of their employees? Hell the Quote of what he said during a shareholder’s conference call shows that he doesnt care about his employees or his customers, just about how much money he can drown himself in before he dies!

  • Steeler4Life

    Never touch food from this company ever again! Its funny, its the ppl that make his business profitable and he just shows that he could give a shit less about them! I think we need a country wide BAN/Boycott on this business. Let him not make profits like he has before and see if he changes his tune!

    Its not about how much the Pizza costs, its about the money that he COULD bring in compared to the healthcare costs! Basically, if you add up 2 million pizzas and an avg of 13 bucks a pop, that would easily make up the amount that Papa Johns would spend on Healthcare costs his company would have to pay into. So they (Papa Johns) are willing to give away 2 million free pizza’s, to try and get more business, at the cost of a possible 26 million dollar revenue, but cant pay for the healthcare of their employees? Hell the Quote of what he said during a shareholder’s conference call shows that he doesnt care about his employees or his customers, just about how much money he can drown himself in before he dies!

  • BenjaminF

    Fuck papa john and the dogshit he calls “food”. More like like “stuff that has no nutritive value” and is nothing but fat and salt. That’s it !….Fat and Salt.

  • Boycottpapajohns

    So, what is the better pizza? Dominos? Pizza Hut? Donatos ?

    • lindylou

      If you grow your own tomatoes, you are in business: spread out the pizza dough, set sliced fresh tomatoes edge to edge, sprinkle with fresh basil, top with some low fat cheese and bake.

    • motherunit

      Home made is the way to go. If you’re not up to baking your own, try a neighborhood mom-and-pop pizza shop, not one of the chains.

    • Sam Brosenberg

      They are all equally revolting. I wouldn’t even call the product that those businesses sell “pizza”.

  • jwald1

    It really should be called “Papa Johns processed pizza product”.

  • Noctor5

    Respect for Peyton has certainly fallen in my eyes. Papa John’s is a nasty pizza – support your local pizza shop – you help your community (not obscenely rich CEO’s & the share holders) and you get great tasting pizza to boot!!

  • Liz Topp Curran

    Peyton: You’ve spent alot of years cultivating the persona of a good guy. Hanging out with a guy who has way more than enough to lead a really good life but who publicly begrudges the people who work day-in-and-day-out to make his business a success a decent living and access to health care, even if it cuts his profits a bit, starts to make you look like the oblivious, greedy asshole that he is. How can you be so clueless?

  • CappyM

    I just saw the Peyton and Papa John commercial game and was looking for a story to link. Great job! And stay away from chain pizza places anyway. Support your local pizza shop. It’s probably better.