Nike launch “Black and Tan” Paddy’s Day trainer

Updated: March 16, 2012

One wonders if any Irish people are employed in the upper echelons of Nike’s design department?

This Saint Patrick’s week;  the answer to that would apparently be:  ”No.”

Either way; Nike has firmly rammed its foot into its mouth by releasing a commemorative Saint Patrick’s Day trainer bearing the same name as the British paramilitary brigade which killed thousands of innocent Irish people during the height of the  ”Troubles”  from early 1920 to late 1921.

The unit took their name from the colour of the improvised khaki outfits they wore.  Although ostensibly created to target, track down and/or kill members of the Irish Republic Army;  the Black and Tans became infamous for their killing and maiming of totally innocent Irish civilians.

Many members of the Black of Tans were convicts released from British prisons and sent over to Irish shores to run amok.  Such was the cruelty of the  ”Tans”   behaviour at the time that the word has entered popular culture and is still used as a derogatory term to refer to the British in Ireland.

Nike have reported that they created the shoe due to the coloured drink which comes from mixing lager and stout;  usually called Guinness or Harp or derivatives thereof.   The trainer has been released for sale by the American sportswear giant at at a RRP of UUS$189.99 with the full name of the sneaker being:  Nike SB Dunk Low Premium Black & Tan.

Amazingly;  Nike are not the first major company to release merchandise with the name  ”Black and Tan.”   In 2006;  Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream released a black and tan flavoured ice-cream, though they apologised when they realised their error and removed the product from the market.  One hopes that Nike will follow suit, though, so far, they have not responded to media queries about the situation.  The famous phrase;   “No publicity is bad publicity” comes to mind.  Not certain if that is the case in this instance.

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