John Schnatter, Papa John’s founder who has appeared in numerous commercials for his pizza chain with Peyton Manning, will step down as CEO but will remain chairman of the board. Last month, Papa John’s apologized after its founder publicly criticized NFL leadership over the National Anthem protests by football players, which had resulted in neo-Nazis publicly embracing the pizza chain. Earlier this year, Schnatter blamed the protests for slowing his company’s sales growth. New CEO Steve Ritchie declined to say whether Schnatter's comments influenced his decision to step down. Ritchie also said the company hasn't decided if Schnatter will continue to serve as Papa John's spokesman. ALSO: NFL says it had no contact with Papa John's regarding Schnatter's exit.