The mayor of a Louisiana city who prohibited the Parks and Recreation Department from purchasing Nike products decided to reverse his decision on Wednesday.
Mayor Ben Zahn received major backlash on Sept. 5 after he ordered the Nike ban in the New Orleans suburb of Kenner. The mayor’s decision was in response to the athletic company’s “Just Do It” campaign ad that features former NFL player and social justice activist Colin Kaepernick. A memo from the mayor’s office 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.”
However, Zahn announced on Sept. 12 at Veterans Memorial Park that he’s rescinded the Nike ban in hopes of “bringing this city back together.” The Kenner mayor didn’t apologize for the order, but said it “placed Kenner in a false and unflattering light on the national stage.”
The executive director of the ACLU of Louisiana, Alanah Odoms, Hebert told The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune, “We’re pleased the mayor reconsidered his divisive stance and rescinded this unconstitutional policy. … The reversal of this ban is good news for the people of Kenner and all Louisianians, who have a constitutional right to express their political views free from government censorship or discrimination.”
Jefferson Parish Councilman Mark Spears Jr. said he was “completely against the policy,” but commended Zahn for overturning the ban.
“I support inclusion and social justice,” said Spears.
Several Louisiana residents protested Zahn’s Nike ban and said he was “dividing us.”
The ban prevented the town from spending public money on Nike attire for Louisiana youth. However, Zahn said he’s focusing on Kenner and is “looking at the future and bringing this city back together.”