Protesters angered by a recent memo shared by Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn that appeared to ban the use of Nike athletic wear in response to the company’s decision to use former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick as a spokesman rallied at a Kenner gymnasium on September 10.
The rally, organized by Morrow’s owner Larry Morrow, brought together everyday citizens, activists and even several New Orleans Saints players to speak out against the decision by Mayor Zahn.
The “Unity In Community” rally at Susan Park Playground featured quite a few familiar faces including Cam Jordan, Craig Robertson, Terron Armstead and Chris Banjo.
“It’s a time when we need to be coming together,” organizer Morrow said, according to NOLA.com. “What he’s doing right now is dividing us.”
The rally is the latest example of people bristling against Zahn’s decision. Many local politicians have spoken out on the issue as the story gained steam earlier this week.
City councilmember Jay Banks posted to social media against Zahn’s decision while sharing photos from the rally.
Injustice, inequality, unfairness and hurting our children have no boundaries. I’m standing to say that it’s wrong. I’m committed to do whatever we can to make sure our children have all the opportunities, regardless of someone’s personal political agenda #UnityintheCommunity pic.twitter.com/12CZaAmdV2
— Councilman Jay H. Banks (@cmjayhbanks) September 11, 2018
Former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu called the decision “unpatriotic” on Twitter.
Nike ban by Kenner mayor is unpatriotic.The ad is about inclusion. Our nation's diversity is our greatest strength. E pluribus unum-we are a sum of many parts. America’s strength comes from our ability to work together – people from different races & backgrounds into a nation.
— Mitch Landrieu (@MitchLandrieu) September 11, 2018
Zahn, for his part, doubled down in a statement responding to the controversy.
“When a company uses its advertising as its own political megaphone, government should be fair to all of its people and not allow taxpayer dollars to be used to help that company push its own political agenda,” he said. “My decision is only to protect taxpayer dollars from being used in a political campaign.”
In short, this fight isn’t going away any time soon. Check out photos from the rally up top.