Despite what Papa John’s commercials would imply, a “better pizza” has just never been synonymous with the 33-year-old company. As the nation comes to a collective realization of what must be a devasting truth for Papa J’s, the pizza company believes something totally unrelated to their pizza quality is to blame for its declining sales.

On Wednesday, Papa John’s pointed its cheesy finger at NFL executives for failing to put an end to athletes’ protest during the national anthem. In an almost plausible performance of patriotism, a number of NFL fans have tuned out from the game after asserting the football players exercise of free speech is disrespectful to the American flag.

“Leadership starts at the top, and this is an example of poor leadership,” Papa John’s CEO and founder John Schnatter said during a conference call with investors.

The pizza company has been an NFL sponsor since 2010.

“The NFL has hurt Papa John’s shareholders…This should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago. The controversy is polarizing the customer, polarizing the country,” Schnatter said of the national anthem controversy whose origins in the police brutality epidemic may be slightly more divisive than the way athletes’ choose to utilize their legs during the “Star-Spangled Banner.”

In the meantime, the poorly performing corporation’s competitor Domino’s has been killing the pizza pie game.

CNN Money reports Domino’s stock has increased by 12% since last year whereas Papa J’s fell by a crushing 24%.