Reebok has removed a controversial t-shirt showing a map of Ireland without the six counties comprising the country of Northern Ireland after fan outrage online.
Among other issues, the pushback on the shirt centers on a confusion of terms and how it undercuts a wider view of Irish identity. The Republic of Ireland and 'Ireland' have different meanings. The former is a term refers to the independent democratic country of Ireland whose capital is Dublin. The latter, or 'Ireland', is considered to be both the Republic of Ireland as well as Northern Ireland, one of the four countries which comprise the United Kingdom.
On Wednesday morning, the Reebok UK Twitter account sent their apologies:
We sincerely apologise for the offence caused by the UFC Ireland t-shirt. This was a design error and has now been removed.— Reebok UK (@ReebokUK) October 21, 2015
John Kavanagh, head coach of SBG Dublin, issued the following statement after initially tweeting his gym would sever ties with Reebok if the shirt was not taken down and an apology not issued:
To better understand the controversy and why this t-shirt has upset many Irish MMA fans, this video helps explain the issue: