Category Archives: Economics

Papa Johns Backpedals After Troubling Comment

Papa Johns has backtracked after it criticized NFL protests.

Papa Johns has backtracked after it criticized NFL protests.

By Free Radical

On Tuesday, Papa John’s used Twitter to apologize for offensive statements its CEO made earlier in the month which criticized both the NFL and player protests.

The company, which many have ridiculed for its subpar pizza offerings, tweeted that its employees “believe in the right to protest inequality and support the players’ movement to create a new platform for change.”

This is a sharp departure from statements made by company CEO John Schnatter who on a November 1 earnings call stated that “The NFL has hurt us by not resolving the current debacle to the players’ and owners’ satisfaction.” Papa John’s saw its stock go down by 24% by the time of Schnatter’s statement.

Schnatter, who is of German descent, is a staunch conservative who has previously blasted Obamacare and other forms of government regulation. And given Schnatter’s support of Trump, it is likely that his comments allude to the belief that a proper resolution would have resulted in the termination of players who kneeled during the national anthem as the president suggested.

Papa John’s has been a corporate sponsor of the NFL since 2010 which seems fitting as critics have argued that its crust is so hard it takes a world class athlete to chew through it.

In reference to Scnatter’s previous comments, the company’s tweet Wednesday reasoned that “The statements made on our earnings call were describing  the factors that impact our business and we sincerely apologize to anyone who thought they were divisive.”

The company went on to say that it “will work with the players and league to find a positive way forward. Open to ideas from all.” Yet it specifically said that it would not entertain Neo-Nazis who celebrated Schnatter’s previous statement.

Ironically, though Schnatter accused the NFL of poor leadership, his company’s sales fell 12% after his statement went viral. Only time will tell if consumers will return to buy their overpriced pizza.

Local Faith Leaders Call for Boycott

By Free Radical

Dinah Tatman, center, with Greater New Vision Ministries, Inc.

Dinah Tatman, center, with Greater New Vision Ministries, Inc.

 

Several clergy and other activists in the St. Louis metropolitan area have called on local residents to withhold their financial support from several companies.

 

On Thursday, the faith leaders gathered at Westside Missionary Baptist Church to announce their boycott. Rev. Dinah Tatman, CEO and founder of Greater New Vision Ministries Inc. claimed that “with those who are protesting physically with their feet, we are also protesting with our dollars.”

 

The boycott targets a list of local and national businesses that have discriminated against Black people both historically and recently. Companies such as Shell and Schnucks and business districts such as the Galleria and Delmar Loop are included. The Galleria was the site of massive protests and excessive police brutality including violent arrests of 22 demonstrators following the Jason Stockley not guilty verdict in September.

 

Instead, organizers have asked that community members practice Ujamaa, a principle of the Nguzo Saba which is highlighted during Kwanzaa, and is translated in the Kiswhahili language to mean “cooperative economics.” Rather than support White owned businesses that have discriminated against Black people, they urge families to support Black owned companies.

 

The faith-led boycott is in concert with local organizers promise to conduct “100 days” of resistance in response to the Stockley acquittal. Yet the protest also cites a myriad of other causes such as racist real estate practices, dilution of Black political power and divestment in Black residential areas.

 

Protests have also called on people to not participate in Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping events. Such a wide ranging target list will not be easy on consumers and perhaps Black employees who work for these businesses. Yet co-organizer Minister Donald Muhammad of the Muhammad Mosque 28 affirms “Sometimes we have to make sacrifices.”

 

Local boycotts in response to racial injustice are not new. Calls for boycotts of Black Friday sales were made in response to Bob McCulloch’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson, the White former Ferguson police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown, Jr. in 2014. Local disruptions in response to the Stockley verdict have also claimed, according to some estimates, over $10 million in losses.

 

Nationally, boycotts of the NFL in response to its mishandling of Colin Kaepernick and other social justice issues has also caused significant declines in viewership and revenue.

 

For more on St. Louis’s faith-led boycott, go to https://www.nojusticenoprofit.us.

NFL Ratings, Revenue Continues Slide

Miami Dolphins players protesting during the US national anthem.

Miami Dolphins players protesting during the US national anthem.

By Free Radical

As the NFL has entered the second trimester of its season, the ratings declined it feared has continued. According to Nielsen ratings, total viewership is down 7.5% after six weeks when compared to the same period in 2016. The investment banking firm Credit Suisse lowered its price targets for both CBS and Fox as a result of the decline and estimates that their advertising revenues will drop.

The ratings dive is part of a larger trend as total viewership also declined last year. When considering the drop from 2015 to 2017 at the Week 6 period, the NFL has experienced an 18.7% slide.

While many observers blamed the presidential election for the ratings decline last year, boycotts are being held responsible for this year’s drop. A number of Black fans have refused to support the NFL for what they believe is the league’s collusion to withhold employment from Colon Kaepernick for his decision to not stand during the US national anthem in protest of racial inequality.

There are also conservative fans who are embittered by the protests staged by Kaepernick and other players. Other viewers have been turned off by the NFL’s mishandling of domestic violence cases, concussions of its former and current players, and the racially paternalistic management styles of its owners.

Locally, protests of racial inequality have also had an impact on the St. Louis metropolitan economy. In the past week, local state representative Bruce Franks estimated that the total impact of demonstrations held in the wake of former officer Jason Stockley’s acquittal was between $10 and 11 million. While those figures are hard to verify, well over $4 million has been spent by St. Louis City and St. Louis County governments for police overtime. Several high profile concerts have been canceled and other businesses have closed since the middle of September. Perhaps the greatest blow will be any injury to the region’s attempt to land Amazon’s second headquarters.

Save

Save

USDA Sued Over Organic Standards

By MCNS Staffcoverart

The Organic Trade Association is suing the USDA for not implementing new organic livestock and poultry standards, which were originally set to go into effect on March 20.

US president Donald Trump’s executive order freezing all pending regulations for 60 days delayed implementation until May 19. But the USDA has again delayed implementation until November 14, blaming policy and legal issues warranting further review.

The implementation may be delayed further though. The USDA has asked for and opened a 30-day public comment period, in which citizens can give opinions on whether to let the rule become effective, suspend it indefinitely, delay it or withdraw it.

“We are standing up on behalf of the entire organic sector to protect organic integrity, advance animal welfare and demand the government keep up with the industry and the consumer in setting organic standards,” Laura Batcha, OTA executive director and CEO, said of the lawsuit.

The USDA delay falls in line with recent efforts by the Trump administration to roll back Obama administration progressive advancements.

In 1990, the Organic Foods Production Act established a baseline for organic requirements and established the National Organic Standards Board to regulate it. Organic food advocates have worked to reduce what they see as ambiguities in the legislation incrementally.

In addressing these ambiguities, it has taken 14 years, with input from farmers, scientists, government policymakers and economists, for the National Organic Program to give more definition to the law.

The legislation requires minimum indoor and outdoor space per animal, and sets many more specifics for animal healthcare and even slaughter. It also gave a set amount of time for companies to change their operations to adhere to the new standards without losing their organic certification. The USDA approved these rules and the Obama administration signed the legislation.

Save

Save