A Louisiana mayor issued a memo on Wednesday to the city’s booster clubs and recreation department saying that they are not allowed to purchase any Nike products, following the news that the company chose Colin Kaepernick as of one the faces for its 30th-anniversary ad campaign, according to CNN.
Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn addressed the memo to the director of the Parks and Recreation Department, Chad Pitfield.
“Under no circumstances will any Nike product or any product with the Nike logo be purchased for use or delivery at any City of Kenner Recreation Facility,” he wrote in the Sept. 5 memo.
The memo, which was meant to be private, leaked to the public and eventually made its way to Kenner City Council member, who did not know about Zahn’s decision to ban Nike.
“I was not made aware of this decision beforehand and it is in direct contradiction of what I stand for and what the city of Kenner should stand for,” Councilman Gregory Carroll wrote in a post on Facebook.
“I am 100% AGAINST this decision. I will meet with the mayor and other council members in an effort to rescind this directive. I will keep the citizens of Kenner, and the Greater New Orleans area informed as we move forward,” Carroll added.
In a statement, Zahn said he did not want taxpayers paying for the company’s “political agenda.”
“My internal memo draws the line on letting companies profit from taxpayers by espousing political beliefs. My decision disallowing Nike from profiting from our taxpayers while they are using their powerful voice as a political tool is my message,” Zhan said.
The mayor added that “of course” he is not banning people from wearing Nike products on the city playgrounds, but that his goal is to protect the taxpayer money.
Reaction to Nike’s decision to bring Kaepernick aboard for its new campaign has been mixed.
Many feel that the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback was disrespecting the American flag and the military when he kneeled during the national anthem to protest police brutality during the 2016 NFL season.
A few conservatives took to social media and expressed their displeasure by burning their Nike-branded shoes.
— AlterAtYeshiva (@alteratyeshiva) September 4, 2018
However, the protest against Nike apparel did not seem to have a dent in the brand’s sales.
Online sales for Nike products jumped 31 percent once the ad was revealed, according to NBC News.
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Teddy is a multimedia journalist who serves as the culture and political writer for EBONY. His work has appeared in NBC's Owned and Operated stations, as well as DNAInfo, which covered local neighborhood news in New York City. He received his Masters in Journalism from the Craig Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY in 2017.