Louisiana mayor bans Nike prod­ucts from parks & rec

Ripon Bulletin - - Nation -

KENNER, La. (AP) — The mayor of a New Orleans sub­urb banned the city’s parks and recre­ation depart­ment from pur­chas­ing Nike prod­ucts, days af­ter the ath­letic ap­parel maker re­leased a controversial ad sup­port­ing for­mer San Fran­cisco quar­ter­back Colin Kaeper­nick.

The memo by Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn to the parks and recre­ation di­rec­tor says Nike prod­ucts can­not be pur­chased for use at the city’s recre­ation fa­cil­i­ties. It also re­quires the di­rec­tor to ap­prove all ath­letic pur­chases by booster clubs us­ing their fa­cil­i­ties. The pol­icy sparked a back­lash over the week­end with many call­ing for it to be re­scinded.

Kaeper­nick ig­nited a firestorm in 2016 when he be­gan kneel­ing dur­ing the na­tional an­them as a way to protest po­lice bru­tal­ity and so­cial in­jus­tice in Amer­ica. He opted out of his con­tract af­ter the end of that sea­son and then has been un­able to find a job with an­other NFL team. He’s su­ing the league for col­lu­sion.

Nike last week in­tro­duced an ad fea­tur­ing Kaeper­nick and the mes­sage: “Be­lieve in some­thing, even if it means sac­ri­fic­ing ev­ery­thing.”

Zahn’s memo, writ­ten last Wed­nes­day, and a state­ment Mon­day clar­i­fy­ing his po­si­tion didn’t men­tion Kaeper­nick specif­i­cally. But in the Mon­day state­ment Zahn said while he ap­plauded Nike’s mes­sage of in­clu­sion, the com­pany was pro­mot­ing a “po­lit­i­cal mes­sage” to sell shoes.

“In Kenner, like ev­ery city, our cit­i­zens and our tax­pay­ers cover a wide spec­trum of po­lit­i­cal philoso­phies and agen­das. We must re­spect all of those agen­das and philoso­phies. So, when a com­pany uses its ad­ver­tis­ing as its own po­lit­i­cal mega­phone, gov­ern­ment should be fair to all of its peo­ple and not al­low tax­payer dol­lars to be used to help that com­pany push its own po­lit­i­cal agenda,” the mayor said. He added that peo­ple would be al­lowed to wear Nike ap­parel on city play­grounds.

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