Just in time for St. Patrick's Day footwear giant Nike have launched a sneaker called, incredibly, 'The Black and Tan.'
It appears the company was totally unaware of the implications of the name for millions of Irish who connect it to the notorious paramilitary force that terrorized Ireland during the War of Independence.
It would be the American equivalent of calling a sneaker 'the al-Qaeda' said one leading Irish American.
Ciaran Staunton, President of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform, stated that the Nike move left him speechless.
“Is there no one at Nike able to google Black and Tan,” he asked disbelievingly.
The Irish Times first revealed the Nike screw up in an article in their Saturday edition.
They likened it to the Ben and Jerry fiasco when the ice cream company were forced to apologize and withdraw a ‘Black and Tan’ ice cream some years ago.
Kicksonfire.com a major online sneaker retailer lauded the Black and Tan line on their website saying, "Beer drinkers can rejoice soon as their favorite pastime is slated to have an official piece of footwear endorsed by Nike SB.
“The Nike SB Dunk Low ‘Black & Tan’ is set to hit shelves in roughly 10 days and if the last photo set we showed you wasn’t enough these should definitely hit the spot.
“The leather trimmed sneakers feature a gradient suede portion that goes from black to tan and is highlighted by a creamy swoosh. The insoles also give a shout to the stout by featuring an image of a pint glass. These may ultimately be pretty hard to find as they are a quick strike release but don’t let them pass without a fight.”
The 'Black and Tan' retails at about $90.
Six years ago Ben and Jerry's issued an abject apology after a similar gaffe.
“Any reference on our part to the British army unit was absolutely unintentional and no ill-will was ever intended. Ben Jerry’s was built on the philosophies of peace and love,” said a spokesman at the time.
The orders the Black and Tans had in Ireland are best summed up by one of their commanders, speaking in June 1920:
"If a police barracks is burned or if the barracks already occupied is not suitable, then the best house in the locality is to be commandeered, the occupants thrown into the gutter. Let them die there – the more the merrier.
"Should the order ("Hands Up") not be immediately obeyed, shoot and shoot with effect. If the persons approaching (a patrol) carry their hands in their pockets, or are in any way suspicious-looking, shoot them down. You may make mistakes occasionally and innocent persons may be shot, but that cannot be helped, and you are bound to get the right parties some time. The more you shoot, the better I will like you, and I assure you no policeman will get into trouble for shooting any man."
-Lt. Col. Smyth, June 1920
The history behind “When Irish Eyes are Smiling”