Ben Zahn, the mayor of Kenner, Louisiana, doesn’t want anyone in the city’s Parks and Recreation department to buy Nike products, but he won’t say why.
Recently, Zahn issued a letter to Parks & Recreation Department director Chad Pitfield, instructing him to run all equipment purchases for the city’s recreation centers by the mayor’s office.
“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 letter, dated September 5.
Just confirmed this is real.
The City of Kenner, Louisiana just banned all purchases of Nike in their parks and recreation department.
— Shaun King (@shaunking) September 9, 2018
The letter didn’t specify any reason for not purchasing Nike, but the letter comes on the heels of the September 3 release of Nike’s new “Just Do It” ad campaign featuring former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The ad shows Kaepernick’s face with the caption, “Believe in something. Even if it means you sacrifice everything.”
Kaepernick — who led his team to a Super Bowl one year and an NFC championship berth the next — and became famous for being the first to sit (and eventually kneel) during the national anthem as a means of protesting police brutality against African Americans. He went unsigned throughout the 2017 season, and eventually filed a lawsuit against the National Football League, accusing team owners of colluding to keep him off of any team’s roster. The lawsuit has been allowed to move forward despite objections from the league.
Conservatives have been publicly intentionally destroying their Nike products to protest the company’s decision to use Kaepernick in their new ad. However, Nike has seen sales of its products jump by 31 percent since the ad campaign was announced, despite the conservative boycott.
Mayor Zahn is not up for re-election, having just been elected to a full-term in March of this year by a wide margin.
Jake Shepherd is a freelance writer from Cleveland, Ohio. He enjoys poring through financial disclosure statements, spirited debate, and good scotch. He remains eternally optimistic about the Browns. Email him at jake.d.shepherd.21 (at) hotmail (dot) com.