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Louisiana mayor bans Nike purchases for recreation programs: memo

The Hill logo The Hill 9/10/2018 Morgan Gstalter
a close up of a device: Logo of Nike at an outlet © Provided by The Hill Logo of Nike at an outlet

A Louisiana mayor issued a memo last week apparently banning the city's recreation department from purchasing any Nike products.

Kenner City Mayor Ben Zahn appeared to declare on Sept. 5, that "under no circumstances" should Nike products or any product with the Nike logo be purchased, WBRZ 2 reported Saturday.

Zahn's office sent the memo to Parks and Recreation Department Director Chad Pitfield on Sept. 5, according to what appears to be a copy of the letter posted to WBRZ.

Local news outlets later obtained the memo which appears to state that "effective immediately," any booster club operating at city recreation facilities must have their purchases approved by Pitfield - including apparel, shoes, athletic equipment "and/or any athletic product."

The memo was issued just two days after Nike announced that former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick would be the face of its 30th anniversary "Just Do It" campaign. Kaepernick is not mentioned in the memo from Zahn's office.

Nike's move to make Kaepernick the face of its campaign sparked outrage from President Trump and his base, prompting some to post videos to social media of them destroying their Nike products.

Despite the backlash, Nike's online sales appear to have soared following the release of the campaign.

Kaepernick has been under fire since 2016 when he first took a knee to protest racial injustice during the pre-game playing of the national anthem. Critics have accused him of disrespecting veterans and the American flag.

He became a free agent after kneeling during the 2016 NFL season and has since remained unsigned.

The player filed a grievance last year accusing league owners of colluding to keep him off a team, and an arbitrator ruled late last month that his case will go to trial.

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