The White house had to leap in to clarify. It said it was “very clear” to Irish rugby fans that US President Joe Biden was referring to the New Zealand rugby team the All Blacks when he made a mistaken reference to “the Black and Tans”. Getting names mixed up is one thing – but the Black and Tans are a still painful part of the history of Irish independence.
Black and Tans
The Black and Tans were a paramilitary force recruited during the Irish War of Independence (1919-1921). The name “Black and Tans” came from the color of their makeshift uniforms, which were a mix of British army khaki and Royal Irish Constabulary black.
The Black and Tans were primarily made up of former soldiers from World War I who were sent to Ireland to help suppress the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and restore British rule. They were notorious for their brutality and indiscriminate violence against civilians, including burning homes and businesses, looting, and executing suspects without trial. Their actions helped to fuel anti-British sentiment in Ireland and contributed to the Irish War of Independence.
The Black and Tans were officially disbanded in 1921, following the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty that ended the war and established the Irish Free State. However, their legacy remains a controversial and sensitive topic in Irish history.
In Ireland, Biden told a story about a rugby player who "beat the hell out of the Black and Tans."— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) April 13, 2023
Except he meant New Zealand's "All Blacks" rugby team. "Black and Tans" were a unit of the British military that fought the Irish Republican Army. pic.twitter.com/1KYQaUPhNy
Did Joe play Rugby?
Biden went on to explain that he played rugby. A claim that appears to be true and not one of his moments of inserting himself into the narrative as it seems played while at Syracuse getting his law degree.