At first glance, the SB Dunk Low “Black and Tan” trainers appear to be named after a popular drink, which combines a dark beer with a lighter lager. One ad reads: “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.”
Apparently, Nike didn’t realize the drink’s name actually derives from the Royal Irish Constabulary Reserve Force, dressed in black and tan and notorious for mistreating Irish civilians in the 1920s.
Ciaran Staunton, president of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform, told IrishCentral.com that the choice left him speechless, saying the American equivalent would be calling a sneaker the “al-Qaida. “Is there no one at Nike able to Google Black and Tan?” Staunton asked.
In response to the uproar, Nike released this statement:
“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 apologize. No offense was intended.”