Nike’s sales are up 31 percent after the brand revealed a new “Just Do It” campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers player who created the “take a knee” movement to protest police brutality. Despite the increase in sales, though, not everyone is happy about the new ads. Some people have burned and cut up their Nike products to show their dissatisfaction with the Kaepernick campaign. And now, an entire city has apparently decided not to support the athletic company.
The Times-Picayune reported Sunday that Ben Zahn, the Republican mayor of Kenner, La., instructed the city’s recreation department to not buy anything that showed the Nike logo. Zahn didn’t immediately respond to Yahoo’s request for comment.
Author and political strategist Donna Brazile, whose hometown is Kenner, shared what appears to be an official city memo about the ban on Twitter. The letter reads:
“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. Under no circumstances will any Nike product or any product with the Nike logo be purchased for use or delivery at any City of Kenner Recreation Facility.”
What’s on your Sunday menu?
Disappointed in my beloved City of Kenner. pic.twitter.com/Rc2uP5Wcyl
— Donna Brazile (@donnabrazile) September 9, 2018
Along with Brazile, plenty of other people criticized the city’s move. And some Twitter users encouraged Kenner residents to vote, presumably meaning to vote Zahn out of office in the city’s next election.
— Jonas Chartock (@jonaschartock) September 9, 2018
Citizens of Kenner, VOTE
— leoman802 (@leoman802) September 9, 2018
One Twitter user asked Zahn to “explain himself.”
People there need to demand the mayor explain himself. What about supporting someone protesting the killing of unarmed people makes Nike unacceptable to this mayor? And don't anybody buy the "it's against the troops" BS because a veteran suggested the kneeling in the first place.
— Sparrow Elle (@SparrowElle) September 9, 2018
Politics aside, some people thought that a city government getting involved in what brands to support is a step too far. (Then again, President Trump criticized Nordstrom in a tweet last year, so the line is becoming increasingly blurred.)
— G Ford (@yearningtolearn) September 9, 2018
So this how the mayor of Kenner is playing the game? So @Nike is off limits? Maybe Mayor Ben Zahn should be recalled from his position for biased unethical policies!!!! REPOST REPOST REPOST! https://t.co/5zMROR7css
— wild wayne (@wildwayne) September 9, 2018
Owen Rey, the booster club president for Kenner’s Susan Park Playground, told New Orleans’ WWL-TV that he doesn’t approve of the reported ban. “If we have something that we feel that we want, that’s 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,” Rey said of the city’s booster club purchases.
Some city officials also disagreed with the ban. Kenner City Councilman Gregory Carroll shared a message on Facebook calling the reported memo “disturbing.”
“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 in his post. “I am 100% AGAINST this decision. I will meet with the Mayor and other Council members in an effort to rescind this directive.”
It seems that a number of residents aren’t happy with the mayor’s apparent decision. Some city officials, such as Carroll, may even take action to stop the Nike ban. And despite the city’s actions, there are plenty of people who support Nike’s new campaign, as this week’s sales numbers have shown.
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:
• Donald Trump Asked ‘What Was Nike Thinking?’ And Got Savaged In Reply
• How schools are dealing with students taking a knee during the national anthem
• Cheerleader who knelt in national anthem protest goes viral