Note: we are republishing this story amid record high levels of political division in America. According to Pew surveys, the US ranks among the highest in the world according to how many people feel more divided than before the pandemic. More on this here: https://www.latimes.com/politics/newsletter/2021-10-15/us-most-divided-nation-in-worldwide-survey-essential-politics
Megan Rapinoe stirred controversy at the Tokyo Olympics, and now a group of Subway franchisees want the company to fire her.
The 36-year-old, who kneeled during the National Anthem before kickoff, signed a sponsorship deal with the sandwich giant this spring.
In one ad, Rapinoe is seen kicking a burrito out of guy’s hands after kicking a soccer ball at him.
The ads featuring Rapinoe, who has been a vocal advocate of women’s and civil rights, have received mixed responses, franchisees stated.
In a discussion hosted by the North American Association of Subway Franchisees, a Wisconsin franchisee posted a picture of a note written by an irate customer and taped to the front door of the store.
“Boycott Subway until Subway fires the anti-American … Megan Rapinoe, the creep who kneels for our beloved National Anthem!” the note read.
The franchisee stated: “The ad should be pulled and done with. It gets tiring apologizing.”
A number of store operators, especially those in the red states, stated that they’re facing backlash because of the company’s decisions.
Reps from NAASF told members last week that the group had made complaints about the Rapinoe ads to the company’s top management, led by Chief Executive John Chidsey.
“Your NAASF Board has already communicated with [Subway] leadership the concerns voiced by NAASF membership,” Illya Berecz, the group’s executive director, told franchisees in a letter obtained by The Post.
A lawyer who represents Subway franchisees told The Post: “I had a bunch of franchisees calling me on this today. They are trying to get the ads pulled.”
Berecz and Subway have not responded to requests for comment.
John Gordon of Pacific Management Consulting Group said: “They probably wanted more splashy advertising to go along with more splashy foods. We are so politically divided in this country and Subway should have done more careful due diligence, without a doubt, before choosing [Rapinoe].”
One frustrated West Coast franchisee told The Post that he believes the company’s ads should focus on the improved bread, and suggested that Subway’s ad gurus place their focus on the chain’s mom-and-pop owners so Subway comes off as less corporate.
“Spending our money to make a political statement is completely and totally out of bounds,” an Arizona franchisee wrote on the NAASF blog.
A Midwest-based franchisee stated that the company should have seen this coming before signing Rapinoe.
Rapinoe sparked backlash in July 2019 when she allegedly stomped on the American flag, and had sparked headlines weeks earlier when she stated that she was not going to the “f**king White House” if President Trump invited them.
After the team’s Bronze win in the Olympics, Trump released a statement taking a dig at Rapinoe.
“If our soccer team, headed by a group of Leftist Maniacs, wasn’t woke, they would have won the Gold Medal instead of the Bronze. The woman with the purple hair played terribly and spends too much time thinking about Radical Left politics instead of doing her job!” the statement read.
This year, Rapinoe has signed several other endorsement deals, including one with Victoria’s Secret in June.
Sources: New York Post