The Arkansas sheriff’s office forced inmates to wear t-shirts with a large Nike logo in their mugshots to mock the athletic brand’s collaboration with NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, according to a prominent activist.
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Activist and writer Shaun King shared images of the 12 inmates on social media Wednesday, and wrote that Union County Sheriff Ricky Roberts was “putting Nike t-shirts on people they arrest and making them wear them during mugshots. Source says it is to mock Nike and Colin Kaepernick. Disgusting.”
Less than an hour after King shared the post on Wednesday night, the Union County Sheriff’s office had removed all photos of inmates from the jail’s online roster, reports the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Union County Sheriff Ricky Roberts told FOX16 that these shirts were given to inmates who were not wearing “proper attire during the booking process.”
“We are not, and will not, be influenced by current political and social debates in the media,” Roberts said. “This shirt is not only in use now, but has also been for several months prior. We have taken steps to rectify this issue and insure that this will never happen again.”
The ‘Nike Athletics’ shirt started showing in inmate mugshots around September 15 – according to the Democrat-Gazette who saw the images before they were removed – about 2 weeks after the Nike-Kaepernick collaboration was announced. However, the two other pictured Nike shirts date back as far as July.
Nike unveiled Kaepernick as the face of their brand on September 3, with a bombshell campaign launched across billboards, TVs and computer screens. The former 49ers quarterback made headlines in 2016 when he began kneeling during the pre-game national anthem in protest of the treatment of black people by police.
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