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Louisiana City’s Recreation Department Bans Nike Purchases

Rob Gronkowski
AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

The mayor of a Louisiana city issued a memorandum on Wednesday demanding that the city’s recreation department ban purchases or deliveries of Nike products.

The Times-Picayune reported Sunday that Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn, a Republican, issued the September 5 memo to Recreation Director Chad Pitfield, stating that all booster club purchases of athletic equipment or clothing at city athletic facilities must have Pitfield’s approval, effective immediately.

“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 memo states.

The memo was shared thousands of times on Facebook as part of the latest wave of protests and boycotts against Nike for using former-NFL player and national anthem-kneeling activist Colin Kaepernick as spokesperson for its latest “Just Do It” ad campaign.

Kaepernick, an ex-NFL player for the San Francisco 49ers, became famous in August 2016 for kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality.

“Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything,” Kaepernick says in the ad, which features stories from athletes who overcame disabilities or injuries to succeed.

But some Democrats were irked by Mayor Zahn’s decision to boycott Nike.  One Democrat city councilman released a statement saying he was against the mayor’s decision to boycott Nike.

“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,” Kenner Councilman Gregory Carroll wrote on Facebook. “I am 100% AGAINST this decision. I will meet with the Mayor and other Council members in an effort to rescind this directive.”

Former Democratic National Committee chairwoman Donna Brazile also weighed in on the memo, stating how she was “disappointed” in her home city over its choice to boycott Nike.

Despite some Democrats’ objection to the city’s boycott, many other institutions have dropped Nike as an athletic uniform supplier to boycott the company for using Kaepernick as a spokesperson for Nike’s brand.

The College of the Ozarks, a Christian college in Missouri, announced Wednesday it would be dropping Nike as a uniform supplier over the company’s decision to promote a spokesperson who disrespected the national anthem.

Liberty University announced Friday it was in the market for a new athletic uniform supplier after the Nike ad, stating that it wants a supplier which supports the U.S. flag, law enforcement, and American values.

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