Many conservatives across the United States have rejected Nike to protest the company’s partnership with Colin Kaepernick. Some conservatives with power are even banning the brand from their institutions.
Ben Zahn, the mayor of Kenner, Louisiana, banned the city’s recreation department from purchasing any goods from Nike in a memo that was leaked to the public, according to THV11. The memo was dated September 5 and was directed to Chad Pitfield, director of Parks and Recreation.
Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn failed to inform members of his own city council before releasing the memorandum. Not only is this discriminatory, it’s an undemocratic abuse of power. Your personal beliefs shouldn’t dictate how thousands of your constituents live their lives. pic.twitter.com/bjdeFvEIZg— Louisiana Democrats (@LaDemos) September 10, 2018
“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 with the Nike logo be purchased for use or delivery at any City of Kenner Recreation Facility,” the memo read.
Zahn released a statement saying he issued the memo to “protect taxpayer dollars from being used in a political campaign,” and said people would be allowed to wear Nike merchandise in recreation areas, reports The Advocate.
“My internal memo draws the line on letting companies profit from taxpayers by espousing political beliefs,” Zahn said. “My decision disallowing Nike from profiting from our taxpayers while they are using their powerful voice as a political tool is my message. This government will not let taxpayer dollars be used to promote a company’s or individual’s political position, platform or principle. That’s my position as a matter of fairness to all."
Meanwhile, two colleges have banned Nike from their campuses.
Truett McConnell University, a private college in Cleveland, Georgia, issued a press release announcing the removal of Nike goods from its campus.
“For Nike to then hire Colin Kaepernick, a person known for wearing pigs on his socks, mocking law enforcement, kneeling against our flag, and mocking our troops, is reprehensible to my family and to the Truett McConnell family,” said university president Dr. Emir Caner.
Caner added the school would be “discontinuing our relationship with Nike in athletics and our campus store. Any profits from remaining Nike gear sold through our campus store will be directly donated to Wounded Warriors and the Fraternal Order of Police.”
Another private Christian college, The College of The Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri, took a similar stand.
The school said it “plans to remove all athletic uniforms purchased from Nike or that contain the Nike emblem. Student athletes will no longer wear the brand in response to the company’s new ad campaign.”
“In their new ad campaign, we believe Nike executives are promoting an attitude of division and disrespect toward America,” College of the Ozarks President Jerry C. Davis said in a statement. “If Nike is ashamed of America, we are ashamed of them. We also believe that those who know what sacrifice is all about are more likely to be wearing a military uniform than an athletic uniform.”
The school has already changed its women’s volleyball team’s uniforms to reflect the decision. Instead of Nike jerseys and shorts, the athletes played in Adidas shorts and grey t-shirts emblazoned with the school’s name. The changed happened in the middle of last Friday’s match.
Stacy Muckenthaler, the team’s head coach, told Springfield News-Leader the team will permanently switch to Adidas. She also stands by the school’s decision.
"Our school is very consistent. They are tried and true. They have a belief system and they hold true to that. It's not easy to make decisions that they make. I'm just very proud of the institution and I'm happy to wear 'Ozarks' on the back of our jerseys right now, even if it is a T-shirt,” she said.
Nike has not responded to any bans of its merchandise, but its sales are up 31 percent since it announced Kaepernick as the new face of the company.
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