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Nike 'Black and Tan' sneakers make Irish tempers flare

NikeLogo022612_optBY ANA FERRER

In an effort to honor Ireland just before St. Patrick’s Day, Nike named their new limited edition shoe after the layered beer drink made of stout and lager. The Black and Tans, because of a reference to the British paramilitary group, offend Irish communities.

According to, President of the Irish Lobby Immigration Reform Ciaran Staunton said it is the “American Equivalent of calling a sneaker ‘the Al Qaeda.’”

Staunton also asked, “Is there no one at Nike able to Google Black and Tan?”

The beer-themed shoe is named for the drink made mixing stout and lager beers in a glass generally using Guinness and Harp or Bass. Although those brews are Irish, a Black and Tan is not commonly ordered at bars in Ireland.

The sons and daughters of Erin are upset, not because the drink isn’t common to pubs in Ireland, but because it evokes memories of the British militant group, the “Black and Tans” that used ruthless and brutal tactics against civilians to suppress an Irish revolution during 1920.

Nike offered an apology for unintentionally upsetting Irish communities, and told Fox News that the shoe was “unofficially named by some using a phrase that can be viewed as inappropriate and insensitive.”

One of the ads for the $90 shoe read: “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.”

Vermont-based ice cream makers, Ben & Jerry’s took a similar misstep in 2006 when they unveiled their Black and Tan flavor and then also quickly apologized.

Marketing professor from Emerson College, David Gerzof Richard, said Nike erred by not doing their research.

“Even if companies are acting localy, they need to be thinking globally,” he told the Boston Herald. You got to do a Google search. You could have gone to Wikipedia and put this in,” Richard added.

Comments (1)
1 Tuesday, 20 March 2012 12:50
What a joke, this news item states.."In an effort to honor Ireland just before St. Patrick’s Day, Nike named their new limited edition shoe after the layered beer drink made of stout and lager.."It should have said.."in an effort to exploit St. Patrick's day and the Irish, Nike...".....Here's the thing, America is a proud country and proud of their heritage and history. If you are going to pass commentary on American history then its right to show respect by having some knowledge of the country and her past. The same courtesy should be extended to the Irish. Americans tend to be insular and ignorant of the outside world and this is another case in point. I have walked out of Irish theme bars after seeing "car bomb" fries etc. Speaking as someone who served in the military and was involved in picking up children's body parts after one of these car bombs; who in their right mind could ever think it was a good idea to reference such an horrific and cowardly weapon to sell food??!!! I guess I should expect to see Al Queida Burgers, 9/11 Fries and perhaps Waco Ribs on the menu in MacDonald s shortly! For God's sake wake up and celebrate our culture and St. Patrick's day from a place of knowledge and not what you learn from Hollywood!

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