Ireland bemused as Nike releases 'Black and Tan' trainers
Sportswear giant names St Patrick's day trainers after notorious British paramilitary unit
IRELAND is in uproar - or at least mildly bemused - after sportswear giant Nike decided to celebrate St Patrick's Day by releasing limited edition 'Black and Tan' trainers. The name, which is supposed to celebrate a well-known alcoholic drink, is also an unfortunate reminder of a British paramilitary unit which committed atrocities on the Irish population following the First World War.
The Irish Times reports that the Black and Tan trainers are one of a pair of beer-themed footwear being launched in time for the 17 March Irish national day – the other bearing the rather safer moniker 'The Guinness'.
The paper says the trainers are being marketed as the "Nike SB Black and Tan Quickstrike". One online store carried the jaunty sales-pitch: "Tis the season for Irish beer and why not celebrate with Nike? The Black and Tan sneaker takes inspiration for the fine balancing act of a Stout (Guinness) on top a Pale Ale (Harp) in a pint glass."
The Black and Tans, named for the colour of their uniforms, were a group of British First World War veterans who patrolled the streets of Ireland from 1920-21. Although they were supposed to bolster the police against the threat from the Irish Republican Army, they committed atrocities against the civilian population.
Nike clearly meant no offence to the Irish. But Ciaran Staunton, president of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform in the US, suggested to IrishCentral.com that the sportswear giant might have done a little research before launching its trainers. Comparing the 'Black and Tan' faux-pas to releasing 'Al-Qaeda' trainers in the US, he asked: "Is there no one at Nike able to Google Black and Tan?"