Customer Leaves Message on Subway’s Entrance Criticizing Megan Rapinoe, Franchise Owners Express Their Frustration

Customer Leaves Message on Subway’s Entrance Criticizing Megan Rapinoe, Franchise Owners Express Their Frustration

Please note: We are republishing this story, which originally made the news in August, during a period of intense political division in the United States. According to Pew surveys, the US ranks among the highest in the world in terms of how many people feel more divided than before the pandemic.

Megan Rapinoe’s actions at the Tokyo Olympics have caused controversy, and now a group of Subway franchisees is urging the company to terminate their association with her.

The 36-year-old athlete, who knelt during the National Anthem before matches, entered into a sponsorship agreement with the sandwich giant earlier this year.

In one advertisement, Rapinoe is depicted kicking a burrito out of a man’s hands after kicking a soccer ball at him.

The advertisements featuring Rapinoe, a vocal advocate for women’s and civil rights, have elicited mixed reactions, according to franchisees.

During a discussion hosted by the North American Association of Subway Franchisees, a Wisconsin franchisee shared a photo of a note left by an angry customer and taped to the front door of their store.

“Boycott Subway until Subway fires the anti-American… Megan Rapinoe, the creep who kneels for our beloved National Anthem!” read the note.

The franchisee expressed frustration, stating, “The ad should be pulled and done with. It gets tired apologizing.”

Several store operators, particularly those in “red states,” reported facing backlash due to the company’s decisions.

Representatives from NAASF informed members last week that they had raised concerns about the Rapinoe ads to the company’s top management, led by Chief Executive John Chidsey.

Illya Berecz, the group’s executive director, conveyed the concerns in a letter to franchisees, stating, “Your NAASF Board has already communicated with [Subway] leadership about the concerns voiced by NAASF membership.”

A lawyer representing Subway franchisees said, “I had a bunch of franchisees calling me about this today. They are trying to get the ads pulled.”

Berecz and Subway have not responded to requests for comment.

John Gordon from Pacific Management Consulting Group remarked, “They probably wanted more eye-catching advertising to complement their new menu items. We are so politically divided in this country, and Subway should have exercised more careful due diligence before choosing [Rapinoe].”

A frustrated West Coast franchisee suggested that the company’s ads should focus on their improved bread and recommended that Subway’s advertising team highlight the chain’s local owners to present a less corporate image.

“Using our funds to make a political statement is completely out of bounds,” wrote an Arizona franchisee on the NAASF blog.

A franchisee based in the Midwest expressed the opinion that the company should have anticipated the backlash before signing with Rapinoe.

Rapinoe sparked controversy in July 2019 when she allegedly stomped on the American flag and made headlines weeks earlier when she declared that she would not visit the “f**king White House” if invited by President Trump.

After the team’s Olympic Bronze win, Trump released a statement taking a swipe at Rapinoe.

“If our soccer team, led by a group of Leftist Maniacs, hadn’t woken up, 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!” read the statement.

This year, Rapinoe has signed several other endorsement deals, including one with Victoria’s Secret in June.