Megan Rapinoe of Team USA reacts after receiving the bronze medal after Canada beat Sweden in the gold-medal match in the Tokyo Olympics on Aug. 6, 2021. (Naomi Baker / Getty Images)
By Garion Frankel August 15, 2021 at 1:25pm
It is unquestionable that U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe has a knack for drawing (usually negative) attention to herself.
The athlete, now sporting purple hair, embraced social justice activism several years ago, and there is no sign that she is deviating from that path. She once even appeared in an ad where she knocked a burrito out of some guy’s hands, according to the New York Post.
True to form, at the Tokyo Olympics this summer, the 36-year-old kneeled for “The Star-Spangled Banner” ahead of one of her matches.
She probably thought she’d be hailed as a virtue-signaling hero. She also probably didn’t expect that the stunt would threaten her cushy spokeswoman job for Subway.
The Post reported that several Subway franchisees are incensed about the company’s continued embrace of Rapinoe and are demanding an end to advertisements that include her.
One Wisconsin customer posted a letter on the door of their local Subway that went viral. The letter read, according to the Post:
“Boycott Subway until Subway fires the anti-American … Megan Rapinoe, the creep who kneels for our beloved National Anthem!”
“The ad should be pulled and done with,” the owner of the Wisconsin store said regarding Rapinoe. “It gets tiring apologizing.”
“Spending our money to make a political statement is completely and totally out of bounds,” an Arizona franchisee agreed, venting frustration on a blog.
Should Rapinoe’s Subway ads be pulled?
Another franchisee, who wants to remain anonymous and is located somewhere on the West Coast, told the New York Post that Subway should focus on its improved bread (I’ve tried it; it is slightly better) as well as emphasizing the mom-and-pop nature of its business model.
“They probably wanted more splashy advertising to go along with more splashy foods,” said John Gordon of Pacific Management Consulting Group, which advises restaurants.
“We are so politically divided in this country, and Subway should have done more careful due diligence, without a doubt, before choosing [Rapinoe].”
I think Gordon is right.
Rapinoe was a controversial figure long before the Olympics, but the Games took it to another level. After a disappointing showing by the U.S. women’s soccer team, former President Donald Trump weighed in.
“If our soccer team, headed by a radical group of Leftist Maniacs, wasn’t woke, they would have won the Gold Medal instead of the Bronze. Woke means you lose, everything that is woke goes bad, and our soccer team certainly has,” Trump wrote in an email, according to the Post.
“There were, however, a few Patriots standing. Unfortunately, they need more than that respecting our Country and National Anthem. They should replace the wokesters with Patriots and start winning again.”
All in all, I hope Subway realizes its mistakes and pulls Rapinoe from the its advertising. Franchisees, most of whom are local small-business owners, should not have to suffer for the parent company’s political whims.
It’s easy to say “partner with a different company,” but everything becomes harder when that business is your livelihood.
I think we’re all tired of major corporations weighing in on politics. It’s time for something different.