Louisiana Mayor Reverses City Ban on Nike Products

The mayor of a New Orleans suburb has rescinded his controversial order banning city recreation programs from buying Nike goods.

Kenner, La., Mayor Ben Zahn made national headlines when he ordered the ban in reaction to a Nike campaign starring Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL star who sparked controversy after beginning the kneeling movement in protest of police brutality. Zahn rescinded the ban based on advice from the city’s lawyer.

Zahn did not offer an apology for the sentiment behind the original decree but lamented that it had “placed Kenner in a false and unflattering light”on the national stage.

My patriotism will not waver, but my focus needs to be on the city of Kenner and the many great projects we have in store for our city,” he said at a press conference.

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,” Zahn wrote in the Sept. 5 order, which made its way around Twitter last week.

The ban drew concern from activists both in and out of Louisiana. The American Civil Liberties Union called it unconstitutional, arguing it was in violation of the First Amendment, with the Urban League of Louisiana also questioning its legality. A Monday night rally in protest of the ban drew hundreds of participants, including three members of the New Orleans Saints (Cam Jordan, Terron Armstead and Craig Robertson).

The Swoosh created a campaign starring the former San Francisco 49er for the 30th anniversary of its “Just Do It” slogan. The ad features a black and white image of the ex-NFLer, with text reading, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”

Colin Kaepernick, Nike campaign
A Nike billboard with Colin Kaepernick.
CREDIT: ALBA VIGARAY/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Upon its release, the campaign elicited strong reactions across the political spectrum — with some showering high praise and others taking to Twitter to show off their burning of Nike sneakers. Despite the mixed reactions, sales for the athleticwear giant have reportedly soared in recent days.

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