The mayor of a New Orleans suburb said on Wednesday he is canceling his order by forbidding the recreation department of his city to buy Nike products for use at the city's recreational facilities.
The mayor of Kenner, Ben Zahn, said at a press conference that he did so on the advice of the city's attorney.
"That memorandum divided our city and put Kenner in a false and unpleasant light on the national stage," Zahn added.
The request last week in a note from Zahn came days after the sportswear manufacturer began using former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in an advertising campaign.
Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn told a news conference Wednesday that he is canceling his order to ban the recreation department in his city from buying Nike products for use at the city's recreational facilities.
Kaepernick ignited a storm in 2016 when he began to kneel during the national anthem to protest police brutality and social injustice.
Zahn's order had provoked strong criticism inside and outside the city.
The Louisiana chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) had requested that it be rescinded on Wednesday.
Zahn's memorandum, issued last week in a low voice, said last week that Nike's products could not be purchased for use at the city's recreational facilities.
He also required that the director of the parks and recreation department approve all purchases of athletics by reinforcement clubs that use their facilities.
Kaepernick's name was never mentioned in the note, nor was Zahn mentioned in a statement Monday clarifying his position.
The protests of the move included a rally of hundreds of people on Monday night, including Cam Jordan, Terron Armstead and Craig Robertson of the New Orleans Saints football team.
From left to right: Craig Robertson, Chris Banjo (with his little son), Terron Armstead and Cam Jordan of the Saints of New Orleans. Attended the demonstration of & # 39; Community Unity & # 39; at Susan Park Playground in Kenner on Monday
In Monday's statement, Zahn said that while applauding Nike's inclusion message, the company was promoting a "political message". to sell shoes.
The movement's protests included a rally of hundreds of people on Monday night, which included Cam Jordan, Terron Armstead and Craig Robertson of the New Orleans Saints football team.
The Urban League of Louisiana questioned the legality of the note and the ACLU said on Wednesday that it violates the First Amendment.
Zahn did not apologize at Wednesday's press conference.
"My patriotism will not resign," he said.
"But my focus should be on the city of Kenner and on the many great projects we have for our city."
Kenner is a city of approximately 67,000 residents in Jefferson Parish and is home to the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.
Colin Kaepernick ignited a storm in 2016 when he began to kneel during the national anthem to protest against police brutality and social injustice. He looks up at the Nike ad that was unveiled last week
Zahn's decision to reverse was praised by those who were not happy with the ban.
"I was completely against politics, I support inclusion and social justice," Jefferson Parish Councilman Mark Spears Jr. told Nola.com.
"I have been in communication with Mayor Zahn to express my disapproval with this policy and I am grateful that the policy has been rescinded."
"We are pleased that the mayor has reconsidered his divisive position and has rescinded this unconstitutional policy," said Alanah Odoms Hebert, executive director of the ACLU of Louisiana.
"Revocation of this prohibition is good news for the people of Kenner and for all residents of Louisiana, who have the constitutional right to express their political views without censorship or discrimination by the government."
Meanwhile, Nike shares have recovered after suffering a massive fall in value following the announcement of the advertising campaign.
Shares tumbled 3 percent to $ 79.71 at the start of Tuesday's trading session last week and ended the session at $ 76.60 after Kaepernick published a black-and-white close-up of Instagram on Instagram. .
But Nike's stock price closed at $ 83 on Wednesday, crowning an impressive seven-day change.