It’s never a good sign when a prominent athlete on the world’s stage sparks controversy with an equally prominent sandwich maker. Such is the case with brilliant soccer star Megan Rapinoe versus the customers of the Subway franchise in Wisconsin. Apparently, an irate customer taped a note on the door of the Subway franchisee demanding that the public boycott Subway after Rapinoe failed to stand for the national anthem at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. She has been involved in her fair share of culture wars ever since Trump was nominated for President back in 2006, yet her kneeling during the anthem to display her activism on how African Americans are treated in this country certainly left a sour taste in one customer’s mouth. But that’s not all, Rapinoe is seen in Subway’s latest commercial playfully kicking a sandwich out of the hands of another athlete, and those customers in more of the ‘red’ states aren’t having any of it. They want her fired and they want it as soon as possible.
In the eyes of customers nationwide, Megan Rapinoe and her kneeling for the national anthem prior to kickoff at her soccer games has shown an anti-American side that Subway’s loyal fans aren’t too thrilled about. Every franchise seems to be apologizing for Rapinoe’s behavior and it’s tiring to say the least. Customers want the ads pulled and to never have to lay eyes on Rapinoe again. The North American Association of Subway Franchisees has gone to great lengths to understand what these specific pockets of people are saying and in fact, the group has taken these complaints all the way to the company’s top management. John Chidsey is the Chief Executive of Subway and has listened to the numerous concerns by several franchisees who want Rapinoe’s ad to cease and desist. Although Subway officials have not formally responded to the requests by the franchises, they are aware of the outpouring of negativity targeted towards the Megan Rapinoe ads. They look at it as Subway inked a big deal with Rapinoe and her famous pink hair popularity–both on and off the field–that it might take a while before any agreement is made otherwise to get her ad pulled.
The general consensus by large firms and corporations is that Subway should have done their due diligence, knowing this country is extremely divided on a number of issues and paid more careful attention to this fact. By choosing Megan Rapinoe for their most signature ads, the outside organizations who thrive on marketing and brand messaging feel that Subway should have focused more of their attention on the less widely known franchises in lesser-known regions, so as to appeal to the mom-and-pop shops who need more customers coming through their doors. These particular places tend to lean conservative and with Rapinoe as a lead star in Subway’s current ads, the neighborhood folks of these smaller areas aren’t interested in supporting her activism. Before signing Rapinoe, the Midwest, the deep South, and the rightwing center franchisees should have had a say in what star would most likely bring in a solid business. Unfortunately, Rapinoe isn’t it. She’s not only been a target of maligned words from former president Trump but she’s alienated herself from those patriots who believe the flag doesn’t need to be stomped on or knelt around when it’s flying high in the sky under the “Star Spangled Banner” song. Rapinoe continues on and has since signed another endorsement deal with Victoria’s Secret.