Nike 'Black and Tan' Shoes Force Shoe Giant to Apologize

Gabe Zaldivar@gabezalPop Culture Lead WriterMarch 14, 2012

Photo Credit: Fox News
Photo Credit: Fox News

It pays to double-check before you label a product with a seemingly benign moniker. Nike caused quite the controversy when they named their latest sneakers the Nike SB Black and Tans. 

Fox News reports Nike has since issued an apology for using the term "Black and Tan" to refer to the their shoes, as it also refers to to the British paramilitary forces of Northern Ireland. 

The report states: 

Sneaker giant Nike is backtracking after a St. Patrick's Day-themed shoe dubbed the "Black and Tan" by retailers drew criticism for paying unwitting homage to the British paramilitary forces of Northern Ireland.

The black leather sneaker with brown trim earned an unofficial name apparently meant as a nod to the drink made by mixing stout and lager in a pint glass...But the drink itself takes its name from the Royal Irish Constabulary Reserve Force, which became notorious in the 1920s for its attacks on Irish civilians during the War of Independence.

Photo Credit: Sole Collector
Photo Credit: Sole Collector

The term brings back thoughts of violence and brutal attacks. While the name is by no means official, and was meant with benign thoughts to a lovely alcoholic beverage, Nike did the right thing in coming out to apologize publicly. 

President of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform, Ciaran Staunton, illustrated just how serious the label would be.

He helped America understand the tone of such a moniker by stating it would be like calling an American product, "the al-Qaeda."

There was never any ill-intent by Nike and the company has gone a long way to set the record straight. If anything, this has caused a great deal of notice for past violence that is still very much in the minds of Northern Ireland citizens. 

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