An Arkansas county sheriff is being accused of requiring prisoners to wear Nike shirts in their mugshots, as a way to mock anthem protester Colin Kaepernick.
According to Black Lives Matter activist Shaun King, Union County, Arkansas, Sheriff Ricky Roberts had officers put Nike shirts on prisoners during mugshots. King tweeted out a group of inmate photos with the caption “disgusting:”
The Sheriff in Union County, Arkansas is 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. pic.twitter.com/9z9Nw9hxuF
— Shaun King (@shaunking) October 11, 2018
A short time after the activist publicized the mugshots the sheriff’s department deleted the photos.
Still, despite what activist Shaun King said, Sheriff Roberts said that the Nike shirts were not used to mock Nike or Colin Kaepernick.
The department released a statement saying that the inmates seen in the Nike shirts had come to the station lacking “proper attire,” and the shirt was handed to them for the purpose of propriety, according to ArkansasOnline.
Indeed, only about 11 of the 182 mugshots posted to the department’s site featured an inmate wearing a Nike shirt, according to 12Up.
But Roberts’ office also noted that some people were offended by the shirts, and the department would make sure the shirts weren’t used again.
“It is not our intent, nor has it ever been our intent, to demean or disparage those who are innocent until proven guilty,” the sheriff said in the statement. “I require that my staff treat everyone with the utmost dignity and respect.
“We are not, and will, not be influenced by current political and social debates in the media,” the statement added.
Roberts also insisted that the Nike shirt had been used for “several months” and denied that it had only started being used after the debut of the Nike “Just Do It” ad featuring the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback.
Kaepernick is notorious or wearing socks depicting all police officers as pigs when he was still playing in 2016.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.