El Dorado, AR – Anti-police activists are outraged that a sheriff gave inmates Nike shirts to wear during their booking photos, interpreting the move to be a political statement against Colin Kaepernick.
However, Union County Sheriff Ricky Roberts said inmates were given Nike T-shirts to wear because they came to the jail without proper attire during the booking process, according to KLRT.
Sheriff Roberts said the shirts were not purchased by his department but were instead clothing already on hand.
"We are not, and will not, be influenced by current political and social debates in the media," Sheriff Roberts said, according to KLRT. "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."
KTVE reporter Cherith Cobbs reported on Twitter that Sheriff Roberts said that if inmates are not fully clothed, they are allowed to pick out their own new shirts out of a box.
The clothes are articles that have been left behind. Cobbs also reported that if an inmate is wearing a jail uniform while taking a mugshot, they are allowed to pick a shirt out of the box.
The sheriff said that is done so the prisoners aren’t seen wearing jail pinstripes in the mugshot photo.
However, the sheriff's move to help defend inmates' dignity was interpreted to have more nefarious intent after anti-police activist Shaun King tweeted about it.
On Sept. 3, Nike announced its “Just Do It” campaign which featured Kaepernick, the anti-police former NFL quarterback who started the National Anthem protests by kneeling during a 2016 exhibition game.
The company's campaign features Kaepernick with the words "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything."
Kaepernick's "sacrifice" is an apparent reference to the former NFL player's inability to get re-hired after voluntarily quitting the NFL.
The "believe in something," is an apparent reference to Kaepernick calling police officers murderers, and kneeling in protest to the American flag.
The inmates in Nike shirts started appearing on Sept. 15, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
The inmate photos wearing Nike shirts have now been removed from the jail website, according to KLRT.