Wednesday, September 12, 2018
The mayor of a New Orleans suburb banned the city’s parks and recreation department from purchasing Nike products, days after the athletic apparel maker released a controversial ad supporting former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
The memo by Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn to the parks and recreation director says Nike products cannot be purchased for use at the city’s recreation facilities. It also requires the director to approve all athletic purchases by booster clubs using their facilities. The policy sparked a backlash over the weekend with many calling for it to be rescinded.
Zahn’s memo, written last Wednesday, and a statement Monday clarifying his position didn’t mention Kaepernick specifically. But in the Monday statement, Zahn said while he applauded Nike’s message of inclusion, the company was promoting a “political message” to sell shoes.
The Nike ban sparked protests and calls for the mayor to rescind the order. The Urban League of Louisiana questioned the legality of the action and said they were “deeply disappointed.”