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This Mayor Just Banned His City's Rec Centers from Buying Nike Products

In an apparent response to the new Colin Kaepernick ad.

by Drew Schwartz
Sep 10 2018, 8:29pm

Photo of Zahn (L) via the City of Kenner; photo of Kaepernick (R) via Twitter

Conservatives have been losing their shit over Colin Kaepernick's Nike ad ever since it dropped on Wednesday, prompting an angry tweet from President Trump and an army of enraged MAGA bros to burn their own Nike gear in protest. Now, in an apparent response to the new spot, the mayor of a city in Louisiana is trying to ban the brand's products from every public recreational facility in town.

On the same day Kaep's ad premiered, Kenner mayor E. Ben Zahn III issued a memo demanding that "under no circumstances" should anything Nike sells be purchased for the city's rec centers, the New Orleans Advocate reports. The memo specifically bans booster clubs—organizations that support kids' and other rec-level sports teams, which are typically made up of parents—from buying Nike gear for any team that uses the city's facilities.

In his bizarre attempt to try to keep Nike products out of the city's gyms, parks, and sports centers, Zahn is asking Kenner's Parks and Recreation director to screen every purchase a booster club wants to make for its team's uniforms and equipment, and prohibit them from buying Nike's stuff—meaning, essentially, that the city is telling parents and community members what they can and can't buy for their kids.

Even if he hasn't said so explicitly, it's pretty clear that the mayor's directive came in response to Kaepernick's Nike ad, which reignited the controversy over the NFL anthem protests Kaep pioneered, pitting folks who think NFL players should be allowed to kneel against conservatives who say it's disrespectful. Zahn went after NFL players who have protested the national anthem at an event called the "Freedom Fest" just last week, telling a crowd of locals that "in the city of Kenner, we all stand."

But some city residents are already gathering signatures on a petition to have the ban repealed, and are planning to protest it Monday night. Meanwhile, Kenner city councilor Gregory Carroll slammed Zahn's memo on Facebook, promising to meet with the mayor and other city councilors to try to "rescind" what he called a "disturbing" new policy.

"I was not 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," Carroll wrote. "I am 100 percent AGAINST this decision."

As the controversy over Nike's new ad has gotten more intense, the brand's online sales have spiked by 31 percent, signaling that all the outrage is only bringing the company more business. And it looks like Zahn is already helping to sell more gear—at least one city councilor in neighboring New Orleans decided to buy a Nike shirt as a "screw you" to Kenner's mayor.

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This article originally appeared on VICE US.

parks and rec
Colin Kaepernick
nike ad
recreational facilities
nike ban
e ben zahn III