Nike saw its sales go up almost 31 percent after it revealed former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick as the face of its 30th anniversary “Just Do It Campaign.”
The inspirational ad, which featured several prominent athletes and was narrated by the ex-football star who started a national movement by taking a knee during the national anthem, was revealed just four days ahead of the new NFL season.
While the ad received a lot of applause and support, there were also those who railed against it. A number of conservatives and right-wing supporters not only burned their Nike products but also threatened to boycott the brand – and it appears a Republican mayor from Louisiana is one of them.
Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn drew severe criticism after a memorandum, which apparently bore his signature, surfaced online banning booster clubs at recreational facilities across the city from purchasing Nike products.
Former Democratic National Committee chairperson and Kenner native Donna Brazile was among the first one to share the memo on Twitter.
What’s on your Sunday menu?— Donna Brazile (@donnabrazile) September 9, 2018
Disappointed in my beloved City of Kenner. pic.twitter.com/Rc2uP5Wcyl
“Effective immediately all purchases made by any booster club operating at any Kenner Recreation Facility for wearing apparel, shoes, athletic equipment and/or any athletic product must be approved by the Director of Parks and Recreation, or his designee,” an image of the memo read. “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, reportedly directed towards the city’s Parks and Recreation Director Chad Pitfield, was sent out on Sept. 5 – the same day Nike released its now-viral full-length ad featuring Kaepernick, who made headlines after protesting systemic racism and police brutality on the field back in 2016.
In an interview with BuzzFeed News, Kenner Councilman Gregory Carroll said he “didn't believe it when I first read it.”
"I'm not sure if any other council member was aware of it," he said, adding the memo didn't "make a lot of sense” as the city doesn't spend a lot of its budget on Nike products as it could be quite expensive.
“If we spent $1,000 on Nike that would be a lot," Carroll added. "And we can't discriminate against anybody or company because of our laws. If we did, we'd be breaking our own rules. I think [the mayor] just got caught up in all this stuff and made a move off-the-cuff. We're all trying to figure out where this came from."
Meanwhile, the mayor has not responded to the controversy as of yet.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters, Alexandria Sage