One of the biggest chicken wing providers in the US is blaming the NFL for slow sales

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Hollis Johnson

  • Sanderson Farms, one of the biggest chicken providers in the US, is blaming the NFL for slow sales.
  • The decline in demand follows “historically high” chicken wing prices that have held for much of 2017.
  • Papa John’s ignited controversy after criticizing the NFL for its handling of player protests.

One of the biggest chicken providers in the US is claiming national anthem protests by NFL players are hurting its business, according to Bloomberg. Sanderson Farms CEO Joe F. Sanderson Jr. said restaurants have been buying fewer chicken wings from Sanderson due to the controversy surrounding the NFL.

“The only thing puzzling me right now is wings,” he said. “We’ve been talking to our wing customers and they’re the ones that are telling us that they’re seeing less traffic in their stores. They attribute that to the NFL.”

This recent decline in demand followed what Buffalo Wild Wings called “historically high” chicken wing prices, which benefitted Sanderson and other suppliers. After struggling to attract customers, Buffalo Wild Wings was bought by Roark Capital in November.

Sanderson isn’t the only company in the food industry to attribute declining business to the NFL. Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter became a divisive figure after he criticized the NFL for its handling of the protests. His comments led to responses on social media from competitors and politically-active Twitter users.