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story.lead_photo.caption The Union County sheriff's office website's jail roster showed these six inmates and five others wearing the same Nike shirt before the images were removed on Wednesday night.

THURSDAY UPDATE:

A day after mug shots from a south Arkansas jail drew social-media criticism, the sheriff said a Nike shirt some suspects was pictured was not meant to demean anyone.

Union County Sheriff Rick Roberts said in a Thursday news release that the people in lacked “proper attire” when they were booked into the jail and the shirt was among clothing provided so that the individuals had something to wear in mug shots.

Roberts added that the T-shirt had “been deemed offensive by certain individuals” and that the agency would ensure "that this will never happen 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.”

In Wednesday social media posts, activist Shaun King accused the sheriff’s office of using shirts to mock Nike and former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

About 9 p.m. Wednesday, less than an hour after King posted the allegation, the sheriff’s office removed all photos of inmates from the jail’s online roster.

Though King’s post features two Nike shirts — a large, black T-shirt with NIKE ATHLETICS in boldface font above Nike’s signature check mark and a black polo shirt with a small white Nike swoosh in the upper right-hand corner — the second shirt could be seen in mug shots as far back as July, before the Sept. 3 announcement of the Nike-Kaepernick deal.

The NIKE ATHLETICS shirt began to show up in mug shots around Sept. 15, according to the jail’s roster.

Roberts said the sheriff’s office did not buy the shirts but they were “on hand and available."

“We are not, and will, not be influenced by current political and social debates in the media,” the sheriff wrote.

Roberts noted that one of the shirts has been used “for several months.”

He ended the statement by saying he understood “the concern of those who may have found this offensive” and apologizing.

Read Friday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

WEDNESDAY STORY:

An activist on social media alleged Wednesday that a sheriff’s office in south Arkansas was forcing inmates to wear a Nike shirt in mug shots to mock the company’s recent deal with former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Activist and columnist Shaun King posted a photo of 12 inmates wearing Nike shirts on Twitter and Facebook late Wednesday and said that Union County Sheriff Ricky Roberts was “putting Nike t-shirts on people they arrest and making them wear them during mug shots. Source says it is to mock Nike and Colin Kaepernick. Disgusting.”

In early September, Nike made a deal to feature Kaepernick on billboards, television and online ads.

The former 49ers quarterback gained national attention in 2016 when he began kneeling during the national anthem in protest of the country's treatment of members of minority groups.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reached out to the Roberts on Wednesday evening but was unable to speak with him. Calls to the sheriff’s office were directed to a voicemail for the the public relations officer, Chief Deputy Charles Phillips, who was also unavailable Wednesday night.

About 9 p.m. Wednesday, less than an hour after King posted the allegation to social media, the Union County sheriff’s office removed all photos of inmates from the jail’s online roster.

Before the photos were taken down, at least 11 of the 182 inmates were shown wearing a large, black T-shirt with NIKE ATHLETICS in boldface font above Nike’s signature check mark.

Though King’s post features two Nike shirts — the aforementioned T-shirt and a black polo shirt with a small white Nike swoosh in the upper right-hand corner — the second shirt could be seen in mug shots as far back as July, before the Sept. 3 announcement of the Nike-Kaepernick deal.

The NIKE ATHLETICS shirt began to show up in mug shots around Sept. 15, according to the jail’s roster.

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Archived Comments

  • ARMNAR
    October 11, 2018 at 10:12 p.m.

    LOL@"Trump miracle economy"

  • Cockeyedview
    October 12, 2018 at 7:44 a.m.

    This could also be viewed with a cocked eye as the Sheriff supporting NIKE’s support of Kaeperbick’s disrespect to the American Flag. I say the sheriff should be reprimanded for buying NIKE products and then let him get back to work putting the criminals in jail! Take the pics in the orange jump suit and stop buying the NIKE shirts.

  • dconard
    October 12, 2018 at 9:48 a.m.

    No, this is just a liberal "activist" looking for some sh**t to stir up! It's a freaking shirt - no more - no less. Good grief people, get excited over something really important, like homelessness, child abuse, etc. This is a waste of time for the Union Co Sheriff to have to respond to this idiot's accusations. But, wait, why couldn't the shirts have been worn in SUPPORT of Nike & the whole K situation?? But, that spin wouldn't have gotten King his 15 minutes of "fame" would it???

  • NoCrossNoCrown
    October 13, 2018 at 3:52 p.m.

    Azzclowns and their stoopidity are a winsome thing!!
    Why were public tax dollars used to fund his political statement/shenanigans?
    Guess he is not so fiscally responsible with tax dollars if he can helps a multi billion dollar company increase their bottom line by purchasing their items...
    We stock holder love this kind of stoopidity and stoopid people like him

  • mrcharles
    October 14, 2018 at 6:34 p.m.

    As usual, just like the Idol worshiper Jason the rapert, they like to appear big shots and stir up stuff, conservatives are like that, every chance they give to give the middle finger to most of america and then cry they are hurt , hurt to the core that some one would question their actions done with intent to stir up controversy. Then they can get donations, or have the taxpayer dollars defend them. they say government doesn't work and they spend 100% of their time making sure it doesn't.

    Conservatives are such delicate creatures , always crying we are being discriminated against cause we cant discriminate like we use to in the 40's and 50's and 60's, but with their SCOTUS and the trump lemmings, they are making a comeback and soon we can have some more photos of conservatives like in the famous 57 photo with those awful negro children being accused of being commies and even worse. Many of the right here would be proud to appear in those kind of photos with their down with commies and philistines [ both seem to be a spiraling out of control problem in the eyes of the conservatives]

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