Controversial Nike Memo by Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn Sparks Protest

By Edwin Buggage

Mayor Ben Zahn Causes Uproar over Nike Ad Featuring Colin Kaepernick

Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn in a memo dated Sept. 5, 2018 ordered a barring of Nike purchases for booster clubs as a reaction to a recent Nike Ad featuring former San Francisco 49er Quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Who in recent years have come to national and international attention for taking a knee during the national anthem at the beginning of football games to give voice to police violence against Blacks and social injustice in America.

His action along with other players have drawn the ire and disdain of some, including President Donald J. Trump, where he and others have made this issue less about what it was originally intended to be which was a demand for social injustice and wrongly making it into a litmus test of patriotism.

Kenner Just Do It: Unity in the Community

The actions of Mayor Zahn have drawn a public outcry from elected and community leaders in addition to residents. The action of the mayor has made national news and at Susan Park Playground a rally called, “Kenner Just Do It: Unity in the Community” inside the crowded gym a protest took place where hundreds gathered to speak with a collective voice against the action of Mayor Zahn.

Among the crowd was elected officials from both Orleans and Jefferson Parish and several players from the New Orleans Saints including Cam Jordan.

This controversy has grabbed national headlines, again giving the city another black eye as a place where intolerance still exists at the highest levels of government. Kenner resident and event organizer Larry Morrow says the protest goal is about creating unity in the community.

“It is time we need to be coming together,” stated Morrow. Saying that the actions of Kenner Mayor Zahn is dividing people in the City of Kenner.

New Orleans Leaders Speak Out Against Actions of Mayor Zahn

New Orleans City Councilman Jay Banks spoke at the rally and talked about how politicizing this issue is shortsighted and affects young people and have the potential of inhibiting them for participating in youth athletics.

Current Mayor LaToya Cantrell issued a statement denouncing this action by Zahn.

“As I have emphasized repeatedly since taking office; I believe in the values of the people of New Orleans stand for, being inclusive, being accepting and supportive of all people to committing to social justice and being intentional about how we make decisions.”

“The mandate handed down by Kenner’s Mayor is out of step with those values, and not reflective of the way our City does business. Although the Louis Armstrong International Airport is located in Kenner, it is owned and governed by the City of New Orleans. Let me assure you that our airport will continue to uphold our City’s values.”

For more on the protest rally, turn to page 7 for extended coverage.

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