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Mayor bans Nike purchases for city recreational programs. Memo sparks immediate backlash.

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A Louisiana city mayor is facing backlash after he allegedly banned Nike products from being purchased or used by recreation programs due to the company’s ad campaign featuring former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Mayor Ben Zahn reportedly issued a memo last week prohibiting Nike gear from recreation facilities in the city of Kenner, according to WBRZ.

“Under no circumstances will any Nike product or any product with the Nike logo be purchased or used…at any City of Kenner Recreation Facility,” a memorandum from the mayor’s office to Parks and Recreation Department Director Chad Pitfield read.

“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,” the memo added.

The memo never referred specifically to Kaepernick or Nike’s new ad featuring him in the 30th anniversary “Just Do It” campaign.

The new ad immediately sparked controversy and backlash as a #NikeBoycott hashtag was launched on social media and some posted pictures of destroying Nike gear, although the brand’s sales were reportedly up since the launch of the campaign.

The memo in Kenner was circulated online on the city’s letterhead and bearing Zahn’s signature, though a  spokesperson for Zahn told WDSU the mayor had no comment.

Reaction was swift as some applauded the move but many slammed the mayor.

Councilman Gregory Carroll weighed in on the City of Kenner, District 1 Facebook page, saying he is “100 percent against” the decision.

Carroll was planning to meet with the council and the mayor to rescind the decision as well as question Zahn’s authority in issuing the directive.

“Perception is reality,” he told WWL-TV. “Had this been done a year ago and it was based on finances…it would be easier to digest.”

Speaking of finances, a booster club is a “non-profit organization that collects money from members and the community and uses those funds to support community projects,” according to StateChamps.com.

Why they were using donations for pricey items that have the Nike logo on them in the first place?

Frieda Powers

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