Sportswear company Nike has apologised after issuing a St. Patrick’s Day-themed running shoe that raised memories of a British paramilitary unit notorious for terrorising Irish Roman Catholics in the 1920s.
The shoe is officially named the SB Dunk Low, but the “beer-themed” shoe has been nicknamed the Black and Tan as a nod to the popular beer mash-up made by mixing stout and lager – usually Guinness and Harp or Bass – in a pint glass. Unfortunately Black and Tan is also a term reviled in Ireland, a sneering reference to the British forces accused of mistreating Irish citizens in the 1920s.
In other words, it would be the same as naming trainers the Taliban or the Nazi.
Advertisements, as well as retail displays in stores throughout the US, describe the shoes as “Black and Tans.” A spokesman for Nike said: “This month Nike is scheduled to release a version of the Nike SB Dunk Low that has been unofficially named by some using a phrase that can be viewed as inappropriate and insensitive.”
“We apologise,” the Nike spokesman said. “No offence was intended.”