The mayor of Kenner, La. this month banned his city’s recreation department from making any purchases of Nike products, apparently due to the company’s ad campaign featuring former NFL player Colin Kaepernick.
Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn wrote a memo to city employees on Sep. 5 that all purchases made by booster clubs operating out of the Kenner Recreational Facility must now be pre-approved by the parks director.
“Under no circumstances will any Nike product or product with the Nike logo be purchased for use or delivery at any City of Kenner recreation facility,” Zahn wrote in the memo.
Zahn did not say in the memo if the move was in response to Nike’s ad campaign, which has drawn some controversy because it prominently stars Kaepernick, who began protesting police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem before games last year.
The ad campaign’s slogan — “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” — spurred some people into disavowing Nike products and burning the ones they had.
Zahn, who did not comment to local media about the memo, alluded to Kapernick’s protest during a festival last week.
“She’s going to come out and do our national anthem because this is not the NFL football players, right? This is the city of Kenner. In the city of Kenner we all stand,” he told a crowd prior to a performance of the national anthem, the Advocate reported.
The new policy has been criticized by other city officials.
“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,” Kenner councilman Gregory Carrol said in a statement. “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.”
And Owen Rey, the president of Kenner’s booster club, told WWL-TV the policy “shouldn’t be that way.”
“If we have something that we feel that we want that’s going to benefit our kids, it shouldn’t matter what logo, what brand — as long as it helps the kids and what we’re trying to accomplish at the park,” Rey said.