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Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Papa John's founder John Schnatter will step down as CEO in January, about two months after he criticized the NFL leadership over their players’ national anthem protests, the AP reports.

Why it matters: Papa John's is a sponsor and advertiser of the NFL. Earlier this year, Schnatter blamed slow earnings on players kneeling during the national anthem, a gesture that upset some fans.

Papa John's later apologized, after white nationalists praised Schnatter's remarks.

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first kneeled during the national anthem to bring attention to police mistreatment of black men. Other players then started doing the gesture in subsequent games.

What's next: He will be replaced as chief executive by Chief Operating Officer Steve Ritchie on Jan. 1. Schnatter, who is the company's biggest shareholder, remains chairman of the board, per the AP. Ritchie declined to say if the controversial comments played a role in Schnatter stepping down, per the AP.

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
1 min ago - Politics & Policy

What to listen for in Biden's inaugural address

Vice President-elect Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, and President-elect Biden and Dr. Jill Biden arrive in Washington yesterday. Photo: Tom Brenner/Reuters

Reflecting both the man and the times, President Joseph Robinette Biden Jr.'s inaugural address needs as much reality as poetry.

What to watch ... The president-elect will do both, sources tell me: Biden’s biography equips him not just to deliver a great speech, but also to start putting the public sector back in good working order.

Biden to sign 15 executive actions on Day One

President-elect Joe Biden. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden is expected to sign 15 executive actions upon taking office Wednesday, immediately reversing key Trump administration policies.

Why it matters: The 15 actions — aimed at issues like climate change and immigration — mark more drastic immediate steps compared with the two day-one actions from Biden's four predecessors combined, according to incoming White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

Off the Rails

Episode 7: Trump turns on Pence

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Elijah Nouvelage, Alex Wong/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 7: Trump turns on Pence. Trump believes the vice president can solve all his problems by simply refusing to certify the Electoral College results. It's a simple test of loyalty: Trump or the U.S. Constitution.

"The end is coming, Donald."

The male voice in the TV ad boomed through the White House residence during "Fox & Friends" commercial breaks. Over and over and over. "The end is coming, Donald. ... On Jan. 6, Mike Pence will put the nail in your political coffin."

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