Sheriff’s Department ‘forcing inmates to wear Nike shirts for their mugshots to mock Colin Kaepernick’

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There’s a new chapter in the ongoing debate about Colin Kaepernick’s protest of police brutality. After Kaepernick sold his image to Nike for the endorsement of tennis shoes, many turned their backs on the brand. Not everyone, though. One sheriff is now having all of his department’s mug shots taken with the inmates wearing Nike shirts.

The Union County Sheriff’s Office has been taking these mugshots for a few weeks. The rebuttal to Kaepernick’s protest had been flying under the radar of his supporters until an activist began to notice the pattern.

“Activist and columnist Shaun King posted a photo of 12 inmates wearing Nike shirts to Twitter and Facebook Wednesday,” Daily Mail writes, “sharing in his posts’ that Sheriff Ricky Roberts was ‘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’.”

After the mugshots went viral, the sheriff had them taken down. It wasn’t all the same shirt, though most feature the same image and a prominent “swoosh.”

“Sheriff Roberts tells me 193 inmates are currently in the Union County Detention Facility. Only 20 inmates had mugshot taken with Nike shirt on. Sheriff says he doesn’t like doing booking photos in inmate jumpsuit. Says makes people look guilty before proven innocent,” Matt Mershon tweeted.

“On September 3 the first sneak peak of Nike’s 30th anniversary of the ‘Just Do It’ campaign was revealed, which featured Kaepernick on camera and voicing over a two-minute online spot. That was followed by billboards of the former NFL star and television commercials,” DM notes.

Kaepernick’s protests began in 2016 with him sitting, and then kneeling, for the National Anthem before NFL games. Kaepernick blames the NFL for abandoning him. He’s not played since he was cut from the San Francisco 49ers.

The mugshots reportedly began in earnest around September 15. Eleven of the 182 inmates who appeared on the department’s website were wearing the shirts.

The department has caved to the criticism and removed the images.

The department maintains that the shirts have been in use for several months and are not designed to become part of a larger political debate.