KENNER - Mayor Ben Zahn, citing the advice of his city attorney, said Wednesday that he has rescinded his memorandum banning the purchase of Nike equipment by the city's recreation departments and booster clubs one week after it was first sent out to recreation directors.
The move came as somewhat of a surprise after Zahn appeared to double down on the Nike ban when he clarified his policy prior to a large protest Monday night at a city playground.
Zahn made the order on September 5th, the same day that Nike debuted an ad making former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick the face of its 30th anniversary 'Just Do It' campaign. Kaepernick came under scrutiny after kneeling during the National Anthem to protest police brutality and social injustice.
"That memorandum divided our city, and placed Kenner in a false and unflattering light on the national stage," said Zahn. "I am passionate about my country and the brave men and women who put their lives on the line every day... My patriotism will not waver."
Zahn had earlier issued a statement saying that the intention of the memorandum was to "protect taxpayer dollars" by not having them used as part of what he called a "political campaign" by Nike.
The 'ban' on purchases came under fire from Kenner Councilman Gregory Carroll, the ACLU and several residents, but also was met with support by other Kenner residents and on social media. The 'ban' made national headlines, something Zahn said he never intended.