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Nike apologizes for ‘Black and Tan’ sneakers due to perceived insensitivity

Nike has apologized for a controversy caused from the unofficial name of a new sneaker recently released in the United States due to the accusation that the informal moniker for the shoe is insensitive and offensive to the Irish.

Officially dubbed the SB Dunk Low, the shoe has an informal beer-themed nickname of “Black and Tan,” and was launched to coincide with the St. Patrick’s Day holiday on Saturday, March 17 as Black and Tan is also the name of a traditional alcoholic beverage featuring a mixture of Guinness and Harp Bass Pale Ale.

The offensive nature of the informal name stems from the fact that “Black and Tan” was also the name of the Royal Irish Constabulary Reserve Force which carried out brutal attacks on Roman Catholics in the country in the early 1920s.

Referred to as the “Black and Tans” due to the color of their uniforms, the regiment was deployed in Ireland to quell the IRA uprising which ultimately gave rise to the creation of the Irish Republic and notoriously were known for its heavy-handed use of force upon women and children during their sacking of Irish towns in retaliation for assassinations committed by the IRA.

One critic compared the choice in nickname for the beer akin to naming a drink “al-Qaeda.”

In response to the backlash, a Nike spokesperson has said (via the Telegraph):

“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. No offence was intended.”