Colin Kaepernick’s controversial Nike advertisement has Americans. On one end, fans have applauded Nike for standing in Colin Kaepernick and his movement against police brutality. On the other hand, critics have protested the athletic brand and former athlete, even going so far as to burn their old Nike equipment. Now, Louisiana Mayor Ben Zahn is taking it a step further by banning all local recreation departments from buying Nike equipment.
The mayor of Kenner, Louisiana issued a statement memo to the director of the Parks and Recreation Department, Chad Pitfield regarding the matter on Sept. 9
“Effective immediately all purchases made by any booster club operating at a Kenner Recreation facility for wearing apparel, shoes, athletic equipment, and/or any athletic product must be approved by the Director of Parks and Recreation, or his designee,” Zahn wrote in the statement obtained by New Orleans Advocate. “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.”
In another statement to the Advocate, Zahn claimed the Nike ban was meant to prevent taxpayers from being used “to promote and sell a political message.”I applaud Nike’s message of inclusion and encouragement for everyone to be their best and dream big. But I also recognize that Nike, in its zeal to sell shoes, chose to promote and sell a political message.” Zahn said. “When a company uses its advertising as its own political megaphone, the government should be fair to all of its people and not allow taxpayer dollars to be used to help that company push its own political agenda.”
As previously noted, Nike earned the number one spot on critics’ hit lists after it unveiled an ad campaign starring Colin Kaepernick. “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything,” the ad slogan reads. Kaepernick has previously been criticized and blacklisted for kneeling during the national anthem in protest of police brutality and other social injustices. Nike’s decision to feature the disgraced athlete despite everything has sparked nationwide outrage and boycotts of the company’s products.
Local residents don’t seem to be receiving news of Zahn’s ban too well. Native rapper Dee-1 issued a statement on Twitter on Sept. 9, condemning the mayor for the recent ban. “It disappoints me that this is happening in my state,” he wrote. “The Mayor of Kenner is trying to ban all Nike apparel and equipment from children’s sports and playgrounds. I would like to have a conversation with him when I return from this European Tour. Not to fuss, just to build.”
On Monday (Sept. 10), New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell released a statement, assuring residents that Zahn’s Nike ban will not stand. “Although the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport is located in Kenner, it is owned and governed by the City of New Orleans,” Cantrell wrote. “Let me assure you that our airport will continue to uphold our City’s values.”
Residents are reportedly still permitted to wear Nike apparel on city playgrounds.