An Arkansas Sheriff is putting inmates in Nike T-shirts for mugshots to protest the brand and its support of Colin Kaepernick, according to activist Shaun King.
King posted a 12-photo collage of mugshots on Twitter showing inmates in a black T-shirt with white Nike branding. He referred to the act as, "disgusting," and said that, "it is to mock Nike and Colin Kaepernick."
The man reportedly responsible for the mugshots is Union County Sheriff Ricky Roberts. Since news broke of the photos, the Union County Sheriff's office has removed them from their jail roster online.
Last month, Nike officially revealed the polarizing ad featuring Kaepernick as a part of the 30th anniversary of its "Just Do It" campaign during Labor Day weekend. Some reacted to Kap's appearance in the ad by vowing to boycott Nike, and President Donald Trump even tweeted out his thoughts that the marketing decision was ultimately going to hurt the company. Well, he couldn't have been more wrong. Nike has reportedly increased its market value by roughly $6 billion and its stock prices are at an all-time high since the ad first went live. It has received countless support from celebrities like Don C and Jim Carrey as well.
The Union County Sheriff's Office has not responded to Sole Collector's request for comment at this time.
UPDATE (10/12): The Union County Sheriff's Office has issued a statement in response to backlash over its alleged Colin Kaepernick protest. The department claims it has been issuing Nike shirts to inmates without proper clothing before the brand's Kaepernick campaign was released. Sheriff Roberts' full statement is included below.
It has come to my attention that shirts worn by individuals booked into our facility have been deemed offensive by certain individuals. It is not our intent, nor has it ever been our intent, to demean or disparage those who are innocent until proven guilty. I require that my staff treat everyone with the utmost dignity and respect. This being said, there are many times individuals enter our facility that lack proper attire during the booking process. In an attempt to provide individuals with a sense of dignity, along with providing a photograph which is appropriate for public viewing, we provide these individuals with clothing to wear.
It has been brought to my attention that there are those who feel that one of our shirts of choice may be viewed as inappropriate. Please understand, I require that this office treats everyone equally and equitably within the law. We are not, and will not, be influenced by current political and social debates in the media. Also, these shirts were not purchased by the Sheriff’s Office to be used for this purpose but were simply on hand and available. We are charged with one simply duty; uphold the law and keep the peace. 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 ensure that this will never happen again. I understand the concern of those who may have found this offensive, and for that, I apologize.