Saints players Cam Jordan, Craig Robertson, Terron Armstead and Chris Banjo, lent their support, along with elected officials at the “Unity in Community” rally at Susan Park Playground Monday to denounce the mayor’s order to ban Nike products.
The players joined the peaceful protest after the white mayor Ben Zahn issued a memo ordering the city’s rec department and booster clubs to stop buying Nike apparel, shoes or equipment.
— Travers Mackel (@TraversWDSU) September 10, 2018
“We needed to show up to understand how the people feel about this [decision],” said Jordan. The defensive end, also often plays pick up sports at the facilities.
“I wanted to be amongst the people,” said Armstead, a Saints offensive tackle who lives in Kenner.
Armstead said he was in “disbelief” when he first saw the in-house memo.
“It didn’t seem real to me. I don’t how you can ban a product to a whole community based on personal whatever,” he told reporters at the rally.
The in-house memo was sent on his official mayor’s letterhead to Recreation Director Chad Pitfield, and although it was not public, it’s now circulating widely on social media.
“Under no circumstances will any Nike product or product with the Nike logo be purchased for use or delivery at any city of Kenner recreation facility,” the memo read.
The ban was issued following the reveal of a powerful new ad “Dream Crazy” as campaign by Nike featuring Colin Kaepernick.
On Monday, Zahn released a statement applauding Nike before doubling down against it’s campaign. “Nike’s message of inclusion and encouragement for everyone to be their best and dream big.” But he said the company is promoting and selling a political message “…in its zeal to sell shoes.”
“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,” Zahn’s statement said.
Former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu attended the rally on Monday and said the ban was “unpatriotic.”