Nike sorry for 'Black and Tan' name for shoes

(EndPlay Staff Reports) - Nike put the wrong foot forward with a decision to name its new sneaker "The Black and Tan."

Order a "Black and Tan" at a bar, and you will get a mixture of an Irish stout and a lager. But the beer is not the only association with the name.

In Ireland, Brian Boyd of the The Irish Times told NPR , "Black and Tan" is associated with an auxiliary force of the British army known for being ruthless before Ireland became independent in the 1920s.

"They were responsible for wide-scale massacres, butchering of people," Boyd said.

The unit, the Belfast Telegraph reported, was actually named the Royal Irish Constabulary Reserve Force. Prime Minister Winston Churchill created it after World War I to deal with the Irish Republican Army's attempt to drive the British out of Ireland.

The Telegraph stated that a Catholic cardinal had referred to the unit as "a horde of savages, some of them simply brigands, burglars and thieves."

Nike has since apologized for the St. Patrick's Day "unofficial" naming of the sneakers, reported Gawker , which said black and tan was the color of the force's uniforms.

Boyd, though, told NPR it goes beyond the name.

"It's how the Americans view Saint Patrick's Day and view Irish culture and history," he said.

By releasing beer-themed sneakers and connecting it to St. Patrick's Day, Boyd said, people are saying "the only way to celebrate a national holiday of a country with a very rich culture and a very rich history and literature, et cetera, is to pour massive amounts of alcohol down your body."

This isn't the first such goof, the Irish Times stated. Popular ice cream maker Ben & Jerry's released a "Black and Tan" flavor in 2006 then apologized.

A company spokesman at the time, the Times reported, stated that the reference to the British Army unit was not the intention of the company "built on the philosophies of peace and leave."

Nike's error drew criticism from Ciaran Staunton, president of the US-based Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform.

"Is there no one at Nike able to Google Black and Tan," he said to the Belfast Telegraph

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