The mayor of a Louisiana town has banned Nike products from city recreation facilities, days after the sports apparel company hired former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick for its new advertising campaign.
Kenner Mayor E. Ben Zahn III’s order, dated Wednesday, also demands that purchases made by sports booster clubs for “apparel, shoes, athletic equipment and/or any athletic product” for use at city recreation facilities be approved by the city.
“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,” the mayor wrote.
The mayor issued the memo in the wake of Nike’s announcement that Kaepernick would be the face of its 30th anniversary “Just do it” advertising campaign. Kaepernick sparked a wave of protests by NFL players in 2016 when he began kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality.
The backlash to Nike’s decision was immediate, with conservatives calling for a boycott and destroying their own Nike items. An outraged President Donald Trump attacked the company on Twitter and falsely claimed it was “getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts.”
Nike’s online sales jumped double digits since the campaign was announced.
In a Facebook post on Sunday, Kenner City Councilman Gregory Carroll described the mayor’s memo as “disturbing” and said he was “100% AGAINST this decision.”
“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,” Carroll said. “I will meet with the Mayor and other Council members in an effort to rescind this directive.”
The mayor “just got caught up in all this stuff and made a move off the cuff,” Carroll added to BuzzFeed.
“I was in church when I received a copy of the letter from the Mayor of Kenner,” Banks wrote. “I have never felt a need to purchase one of these before but I am compelled now.”