Louisiana mayor defends decision to ban Nike after Kaepernick campaign

A Louisiana mayor is defending his decision to ban the city’s recreation department from purchasing any Nike products, saying he didn’t want taxpayer dollars to be used to push a “political agenda.”

Kenner City Mayor Ben Zahn (R) declared last week that “under no circumstances” should Nike products or any product with the Nike logo be purchased.

The memo was leaked just two days after Nike announced that former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick would be the face of the brand’s 30th anniversary “Just Do It” campaign.

{mosads}While Kaepernick was not mentioned in the original memo from Zahn’s office, it ordered any booster club operating at city recreation facilities to have their purchases approved by the parks and recreation department — including apparel, shoes, athletic equipment “and/or any athletic product.” 

The mayor issued a statement on Monday explaining that his decision was meant to prevent Nike from “profiting from our taxpayers. “

“I applaud Nike’s message of inclusion and encouragement for everyone to be their best and dream big,” Zahn said in a statement obtained by The New Orleans Advocate. “But I also recognize that Nike, in its zeal to sell shoes, chose to promote and sell a political message.”

Zahn acknowledged that Nike, as a private, for-profit company, could advertise however they wanted but argued that government agencies should not endorse an agenda.

“In Kenner, like every city, our citizens and our taxpayers cover a wide spectrum of political philosophies and agendas,” Zahn wrote in a statement. “We must respect all of those agendas and philosophies.”

“So, when a company uses its advertising as its own political megaphone, 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,” Zahn continued. 

Nike’s move to make Kaepernick the face of its campaign sparked outrage from President Trump and his base, prompting some to post videos to social media of destroying their Nike products.

Despite the backlash, Nike’s online sales appear to have soared following the release of the campaign.

Kaepernick has been under fire since 2016 when he first took a knee during the pregame playing of the national anthem to protest racial injustice. Critics have accused him of disrespecting veterans and the American flag.

He became a free agent after the 2016 NFL season and has since remained unsigned.

Tags Colin Kaepernick Donald Trump Kenner Louisiana Louisiana National anthem protests Nike

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