In news far more unsettling than Papa John making an ass of himself on TV simply because it’s harder to pin on one specific chain, Bloomberg reports (via Fortune) that one of America’s biggest poultry producers, Sanderson Farms, is joining the shitty-pizza giant in “wondering aloud” whether NFL players taking a knee to protest racism and police brutality is responsible for a recent slump in chicken wing prices. “It’s just been reported to us that some of our customers think that their traffic is down because of the demonstrations by some of the NFL players,” Sanderson Farms CEO Joe F. Sanderson Jr. says, which is a very tactful way of saying that his company has gotten some unhinged calls in recent weeks from chicken farmers who presumably also have strong views on former President Obama’s ancestry and religious affiliation.
The question is, why take those calls seriously enough to bring it up on an earnings call? There are definitely other factors at play here: Chicken-wing prices were strong up until the last quarter of 2017, and during last month’s ShittyPizzaGate controversy (not to be confused with that other, made-up PizzaGate controversy), Wingstop said that the NFL protests had not affected its sales. Meanwhile, back in October, Buffalo Wild Wings announced cost-cutting measures that included a push in selling boneless wings made from chicken breast, part of an overall increase in demand for what’s technically just a chicken tender dipped in buffalo sauce. But who cares? It’s delicious—and now, should this thing play out with the same tribalistic venom as the Battle Of Papa John’s, the socially conscious fan’s appetizer of choice.