Police are investigating graffitied subway advertisements depicting the U.S. women’s soccer team as a potential hate crime, the NYPD said.
Commuters on Monday noticed hateful and obscene language scrawled on eight Nike ads featuring soccer sensation Megan Rapinoe that were hanging in the 42nd Street-Bryant Park station, according to police.
The MTA cleaned the posters later that morning. No arrests have been made.
Rapinoe, a team co-captain, was a leader for the dominant U.S. squad on the field as well as a vocal supporter of gender equality and LGBTQ rights. Scoring six goals over the span of the World Cup, Rapinoe took home both the Golden Boot award and the Golden Ball award as the tournament’s most valuable player.
“Hate has no place in the transit system and we work hard to make the subway a welcoming, safe environment for everyone,” said MTA spokesman Shams Tarek in a statement. “We referred this to NYPD which responded to investigate, our maintenance teams got the posters cleaned and we will have them replaced with new ones if necessary.”
New York City will be throwing a ticker tape parade on Wednesday to celebrate the team’s World Cup victory.