Louisiana Mayor Caves on Attempted Ban of Nike Products

UPDATE: On Wednesday, Mayor E. "Ben" Zahn III rescinded his policy barring the city of Kenner's booster clubs from buying or accepting delivery of Nike products at the city's recreation facilities. 

The mayor of Kenner, Louisiana, doesn’t seem to like Colin Kaepernick much. He also doesn’t seem too happy that the sports merchandise juggernaut Nike made Kaepernick the face of its new “Dream Crazy” campaign. But instead of simply expressing his personal opinion, he’s trying to use the power of his public office to prevent others from expressing their support for Colin Kaepernick. 

And that’s unconstitutional. 

On September 5, Kenner Mayor E. “Ben” Zahn III issued a memorandum prohibiting private booster clubs operating at Kenner recreation facilities from buying or accepting delivery of any product with the company’s famous swoosh symbol. “Under no circumstances,” the memo reads, “will any Nike product or any product with the Nike logo be purchased for use or delivery at any City of Kenner Recreation Facility.” Under the new policy, the city’s director of parks and recreation must approve any athletic product or apparel before a booster club can purchase them. 

On Wednesday, the ACLU and the ACLU of Louisiana sent a letter to Mayor Zahn informing him that his actions violate the First Amendment and advising him to rescind his policy immediately. We have taken this action because Zahn’s policy violates the First Amendment’s prohibition on content and viewpoint discrimination. It prevents booster clubs from purchasing Nike’s products based solely on the mayor’s opposition to Nike’s political expression.

How do we know this? Because Zahn said so himself.

After his policy caused a furor both locally and nationally, the mayor issued a follow-up statement on September 11. According to Zahn, he implemented his Nike ban because the company, “in its zeal to sell shoes, chose to promote and sell a political message.” The mayor couldn’t be any clearer. His policy is directed at the political message communicated by Nike and those who wear Nike apparel.

And no one should lose sight of what that message is. Kaepernick lost his job as a quarterback in the NFL because he has the temerity to kneel during the national anthem. Kaepernick has explained that he took a knee to protest rampant police brutality and discrimination against people of color across the United States. By doing so, he sparked the “Take-a-Knee” movement, which continues today

Zahn argues that his policy is an attempt “only to protect taxpayer dollars from being used in a political campaign.” This argument falls flat. While Kenner booster clubs receive city funds, they also raise their money from private sources, and the city has no legitimate interest in dictating which companies, causes, or “political agendas” booster clubs may support with their own money.

There is only one plausible conclusion for the mayor’s actions: He is trying to stop booster clubs from symbolically expressing their support for political views the mayor detests. That’s a textbook First Amendment violation.

Mayor Zahn, rescind your unconstitutional policy. Just do it.

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Dr. Timothy Leary

Colon Coppernickel has had his 15 Minutes of fame. He needs to move on to something else like being a greeter at a Las Vegas casino or at Walmart.

Dr. Timothy Leary

Also, the Second Amendment is the only Amendment that actually matters anyway. Guns in the hands of the clean-cut, All American men are what keep our cities safe. Look at black-on-black crime before even thinking about protesting our Proud Men in Blue, who have never actually done anything wrong.


wow...Thank you, Dr. Timothy Leary, for your unbiased opinion.

Shelly Weathers

Actually he had his 15 min of fame when he played football. The man is standing for what is right. This country will never be rid of racism because of people like you smh dr huh.


You need to get over it he hasn’t knelt in 2yrs

Maggie Fitzmuggins

Does your pastor know you are uncharitable - or is it only words that you pray?


Dr. huh.... Somehow i seriously doubt that. The man excersized his first amendment rights and was punished for it.. which is illegal in the first place. You can sling lame insults at the guy all day but he will always and forever be a man of far higher calibre than yourself.. as shown by your gauche comment. Good day Doc hahahaha


Or just go ahead and keep making millions off of his Nike endorsement


Way to miss the point.


Take your bigotry somewhere else.


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