Nike is in hot water thanks to the name of the above new sneakers. The SB Dunk “Black and Tan” shoes are set to launch stateside this week and were named for their ombre-ish pattern… as well as a nod to the tasty combination of Guiness with lighter beer. Ads for the shoes go, “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.”
Unfortunately, like the Carbomb before it, the name has much darker connotations in Ireland. The Black and Tans were an ad hoc paramilitary unit sent to suppress Irish revolution and who became infamous for, among other atrocities, retaliating against violence by arbitrarily killing civilians. “Black and Tan” or “Tan” remains a pejorative for the British. The LA Times compares the gaffe to naming a sneaker “the Taliban or the Nazi.”
Now the sportswear giant has issued an apology, saying, “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 offence was intended.”
It seems silly to try distancing by insisting the name was “unofficial,” seeing as how it’s all over the ads and referred to as such in retail displays. It also seems silly that no one at Nike Googled this.
(Photo via HuffPo)