A Louisiana mayor has banned Nike products from being purchased for his city’s recreation facilities, just two days after former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick revealed he’s the face of the sportswear’s new ad campaign.
Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn III, who has been critical of NFL players who kneel during the National Anthem, is expected to release a public statement about the ban on Monday. He announced the ban internally to city employees in a memo dated Sept. 5 that was later leaked to the media.
“Effective immediately, all purchases made by any booster club operating at any Kenny 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,” wrote Zahn in the memo. “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.”
Kaepernick is known for being the first NFL player to kneel during the National Anthem in 2016 in protest of police brutality and racial inequality. As the movement grew, some fans have backed the players, while others (including President Donald Trump) criticize them for being disrespecting the American flag.
Nike signed Kaepernick as the face of the 30th anniversary of the “Just Do It” ad campaign, revealed last week. The Kaepernick affiliation has led some people to burn their Nike sneakers in protest while others praise the company as #CapitalismWithAConscious.
The Kenner mayor has received criticism for his ban on Nike purchases, including by writer and activist Shaun King. Additionally, Kenner City Councilman Gregory Carroll called the mayor’s memo “disturbing” in a Facebook post Sunday.
“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,” wrote Carroll, promising to meet with the Zahn and the other council members to rescind this decision.