Sheriff Takes Down Inmates’ Nike Mugshots After Report They’re Kaepernick-Inspired

Screenshot/Shaun King, Union County Sheriff's Office

A sheriff’s office in Arkansas removed mugshots from its jail roster less than an hour after journalist and activist Shaun King reported that inmates had been dressed in Nike t-shirts in order to mock Colin Kaepernick, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Wednesday.

King on Wedesday cited an unnamed source who told him the shirts were used in Union County Sheriff’s Office mugshots “to mock Nike and Colin Kaepernick,” in his words.

Kaepernick signed a marketing deal with Nike in early September, even though the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback is not currently signed with any NFL team; in 2017, he filed a complaint against the NFL alleging franchises had colluded against him, in order to keep him out of a job, in retaliation for him kneeling during the national anthem protest against racism and police brutality.

In August, an arbitrator said Kaepernick’s case could move forward.

A representative of the Union County Sheriff’s Office told TPM the office would be releasing a statement on the story over email. This post will be updated with any statement.

The Democrat-Gazette reported Wednesday that one piece of Nike apparel seen in several mugshots — with a small trademark “swoosh” on the breast — had been used in mugshots pre-dating Kaepernick’s Nike deal. A second piece of Nike apparel — with “Nike Athletics” in large letters — came into use a few days after Kaepernick’s deal, the Democrat-Gazette reported.

At least 11 of the 182 inmates whose mugshots were taken down had been wearing that shirt in the photos over their clothing, according to the report.

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