Nike apologized today after it received criticism for branding a pair of (pretty sweet-looking) limited edition sneakers "Black and Tans," in honor of St. Patrick's Day.

In the United States, the phrase "Black and Tan" most often refers to a drink made by combining pale ale and dark beer. (Look at me explaining a Black and Tan, like you don't know what it is. You know what it is. Have fun this weekend.)

In Ireland, "Black and Tan" more readily conjures images of a the Royal Irish Constabulary Reserve Force, a paramilitary group (nicknamed for the colors of its members' uniforms) that gained notoriety for its attacks on Irish civilians during the Irish War of Independence.

This is what a Nike advertisement for the sneaker said this earlier this week, before it was pulled:

'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.

This is what a Black and Tan army officer said in 1920, before setting his men loose on a market town in Ireland's County Kerry:

"The more [Irish] you shoot, the better I will like you, and I assure you no policeman will get into trouble for shooting any man."

Nike has since apologized for what it characterized as an "unofficial" naming of the $90 shoe.

What violent paramilitary group would you most like to see immortalized with a pair of pumped up kicks?

[Image via AP]