The 36-year-old, purple-haired soccer star — who kneeled during the National Anthem to kick off the Tokyo Olympics before leading the United States to a bronze medal this week — began a stint as a pitchwoman for the fast-food giant this spring.
The response has been mixed, according to franchisees. Late last month on a discussion forum hosted by the North American Association of Subway Franchisees, a Wisconsin store operator posted a picture of a hand-scrawled note from an irate customer taped to the front door of his shop.
"Boycott Subway until Subway fires the anti-American … Megan Rapinoe, the creep who kneels for our beloved National Anthem!" the note read.
"The ad should be pulled and done with," the franchisee wrote of the Rapinoe spot. "It gets tiring apologizing."
Subway doesn’t own any of its nearly 22,000 locations, but it charges franchisees 4.5 percent of their revenue for a national advertising fund and controls how the money is spent. Now, many store operators — particularly those in red states — say they’re facing a harsh backlash from the parent company’s decisions.
Last week, reps from the NAASF told members the group had already taken grievances over 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," the group’s executive director, Illya Berecz, told franchisees, according to a letter obtained by The Post.
"I had a bunch of franchisees calling me on this today," a lawyer who represents Subway franchisees told The Post earlier this week. "They are trying to get the ads pulled."
Berecz didn’t respond to requests for comment. Subway also didn’t respond to requests for comment.
"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]."
Indeed, after this week’s disappointing bronze medal, Trump took a few digs 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," Trump said in a statement. "The woman with the purple hair played terribly and spends too much time thinking about Radical Left politics instead of doing her job!"
Rapinoe this year has inked other endorsement deals besides Subway, including a tie-up with Victoria’s Secret in June.