Amid protests and pressure from other public officials, the mayor of a New Orleans suburb has officially rescinded his short-lived ban on Nike products for the city's recreation department.
In response to Nike endorsing Colin Kaepernick, the former 49ers QB who prompted the anthem protests by declaring in the 2016 preseason that he was "not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Republican Mayor Ben Zahn announced in a memo reported Sunday that the City of Kenner's recreational department would no longer be purchasing any Nike products.
"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," Kenner wrote in a memo reported by the Times-Picayune Sunday. "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."
The memo was met with instant pushback, including from former CNN analyst and DNC interim chair Donna Brazile:
On Monday, a rally was held in protest of the Nike ban that NBC News reports involved "hundreds of people, including Cam Jordan, Terron Armstead and Craig Robertson of the New Orleans Saints' football team." Louisiana's chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union also got involved, demanding that Zahn rescind the order immediately.
The pressure did the trick. In a press conference Wednesday, Mayor Zahn said, at the advice of the city attorney, he was reversing the Nike ban.
"That memorandum divided our city and placed Kenner in a false and unflattering light on the national stage," said Zahn.
While he was rescinding the order, he stressed, his personal motivation behind it hasn't changed. "My patriotism will not waiver. But my focus needs to be on the city of Kenner and the many great projects we have in store for our city," he said.