Arkansas Sheriff’s Office Put Inmates In Nike Shirts For Mug Shots, Sheriff Says It Was Not Done In Protest Of Nike

UNION COUNTY, ARK. (KTHV) — According to civil rights activist Shaun King the Union County Sheriff’s Office is putting Nike shirts on inmates for mug shots in protest of the company’s deal with Colin Kaepernick, our CBS affiliate THV is reporting.

“It’s all a big misunderstanding, ” said the Union County sheriff.

According to a post from Shaun King, a civil rights activist, the Union County Sheriff’s Office was allegedly putting Nike shirts on its inmates for mug shots in protest of the company’s deal with Colin Kaepernick, THV11 reports.

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Kaepernick sparked the anthem controversy be kneeling during the pregame ritual in 2016 – his way of protesting police brutality and social injustice in America. Since then, Kaepernick was named one of the faces of Nike’s 30th anniversary of the “Just Do It” campaign, and multiple critics have shown their rage in protest of Nike.

The post went viral, causing a commotion on social media, THV11 reports.

The Union County Sheriff’s Office released a statement saying the Nike Shirts worn by inmates in the photographs are for those that enter the facility that lacks proper attire during the booking process. The sheriff’s department said they had the shirts several months before the Nike Kaepernick ad release, THV11 reports.

Union County Sheriff’s Office. Photo Courtesy: THV11 Little Rock.

The sheriff’s department has taken down the mug shots of the individuals wearing the Nike shirts, THV reports.

The full statement reads, “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.