The mayor of La Plata received major backlash after calling for people to boycott Nike and then later backpedaled on her remarks.
Mayor Jeannine James wrote an offensive post on her personal Facebook that read, “Nike selected Colin Kaepernick as the new face of the company’s ‘Just Do It’ campaign. How disappointing. #BoycottNike.”
The social media post sparked outrage among people and had Facebook users going back-and-forth in the comment section. However, the mayor who’s also a professor at the College of Southern Maryland later removed the post and thanked users for participating in her “lively social experiment.”
“It was for the betterment of my students,” James said. “My students need to see the full effects of what social media can do.”
James told Fox 5 that she wanted to show her students the power of social media and that she didn’t mean the words she wrote. The La Plata official also noted, “I am sorry that it may have been misconstrued that it came from the mayor.”
However, Facebook users didn’t believe James’ statement and even accused her of dividing the La Plata community.
“[James had users] attacking each other for a ‘social experiment.’ You don’t manipulate people in that way,” one person wrote on Facebook.
The Southern Maryland college released the following statement to the news station:
“While the College of Southern Maryland is committed to fostering a learning environment where free inquiry and expression are encouraged, the college does not support the execution of this assignment and will address this with the specific instructor.”
The college also stated that the acting participants in “engaged in expressive activities” must “demonstrate civility or respect” and that the school does not “condone negative characterizations about specific people nor do we condone comments that suggest bias or discrimination.”
Nevertheless, James still stood by her explanation and said she would conduct the experiment all over again if given the opportunity to do so.
“One of the things that I always teach my students is ‘Say it, forget it, write it, regret it,'” James exclaimed. “When it’s in print or in the media, it can always be found.”
James has deleted her Facebook account.