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Louisiana Mayor Who Banned Nike: JK, LOL

It only took Kenner mayor Ben Zahn a week to rescind his memo after facing protests from locals and pressure from the ACLU.
Drew Schwartz
Brooklyn, US
Screengrab (L) via WWLTV / YouTube; photo (R) via Nike / Twitter

On the same day Nike dropped its new Colin Kaepernick ad, a Louisiana mayor quietly signed a memo banning local booster clubs from buying the company's products, a move that sparked protests from locals, condemnation from the ACLU, and outrage across the country. Now, just a week after imposing the ban, the mayor of Kenner seems to have had a change of heart.

According to the Times-Picayune, Mayor Ben Zahn rescinded the ban on Wednesday, originally put in place to "protect taxpayer dollars from being used in a political campaign." Citing a hope in "bringing the city together," Zahn held a local press conference to explain the decision.


“That memorandum divided our city and placed Kenner in a false and unflattering light on the national stage,” Zahn said.

Zahn reportedly repealed the policy on advice from his legal team, after the ACLU's Louisiana chapter pointed out that requiring city approval for all booster club purchases might be unconstitutional. Essentially the nonprofit argued he was forbidding the clubs—which fund sports teams partially with private money—from "symbolically expressing their support for political views the mayor detests," which it called "a textbook First Amendment violation."

Ultimately, it looks like Zahn believed in something, but—faced with outrage from his voters, a possible lawsuit from the ACLU, and calls for his resignation—not when it meant potentially sacrificing everything.

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