Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn issued a memorandum ordering the city’s recreation department and booster clubs to not wear or purchase any Nike products effective immediately.
In the internal memo issued Sept. 5, Mayor Ben Zahn says that moving forward, all purchases of clothing, shoes or any athletics equipment by the city’s playground booster clubs must first be approved by Recreation Director, Chad Pitfield.
A copy of the memo has been widely circulated on social media prompting a backlash on the Mayor’s decision.
Kenner booster club president, one of the clubs mentioned in the memo, Owen Rey said “If we have something that we feel that we want that is going to benefit our kids, it shouldn’t matter what logo, what brand, as long as it helps the kids and what we’re trying to accomplish at the park.”
The mayor’s directive also drew the ire of Kenner City Councilman Gregory Caroll, who said he had no idea the memo was being sent out.
“Last night a disturbing memorandum was circulated that the City of Kenner Mayor E. Ben Zahn wrote to the Kenner Recreation Director, directing him, regarding Booster Club Purchases, banning Nike products, usage or delivery of all Kenner Recreational Facilities,” Carroll wrote in a lengthy Facebook post. “I wasn’t 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.
“I am 100% AGAINST this decision,” Carroll added, noting that he planned to meet with Zahn and other council members to have the directive overturned. “I will keep the citizens of Kenner, and the Greater New Orleans area informed as we move forward.”
Nike has faced scrutiny since unveiling its latest “Just Do It” ad campaign featuring former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who sparked outrage in 2016 after taking a knee during the national anthem to protest racial injustice in America. The company’s move sent critics into a tizzy, some going as far as lighting their Nike products on fire for the entire world to see.
Following a series of protest and backlash, Zahn announced on Sept. 12 at Veterans Memorial Park that he’s rescinded the Nike ban in hopes of “bringing this city back together.”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.”