Photo Credit: Nathaniel James/Gravitas
Updated (4:22pm): Nike has decided to sever ties with Manny Pacquiao and officially terminated his contract after his comments regarding gay couples being “worse than animals.”
“We find Manny Pacquiao’s comments abhorrent. Nike strongly opposes discrimination of any kind and has a long history of supporting and standing up for the rights of the LGBT community. We no longer have a relationship with Manny Pacquiao.” – Nike statement
Pacquiao has been with Nike since 2006 and he is one of several athletes the company has terminated since 2012. Lance Armstrong, Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, and Oscar Pistorius were all terminated by the sports merchandise conglomerate for egregious acts.
Pacquiao is running for senate in his native Philippines and made the insensitive remarks in an attempt to sway voters.
Eight-time world champion Manny Pacquiao has been a member of the Nike family since 2006, but the relationship could be coming to an end this week. Recently Pacquiao made defaming comments aimed at the LGBT community.
“If men mate with men and women mate with women they are worse than animals,” Pacquiao told local broadcaster TV5 in the Philippines.
“It’s common sense. Do you see animals mating with the same sex? Animals are better because they can distinguish male from female,” Pacquiao added.
The comments have caused Nike to receive backlash from customers who are outraged by Pacquiao’s illiberal rant. Also, a petition initiated by Gay Marriage USA via Change.org is calling for Nike to take a stand.
“Nike is a multi-billion dollar industry and [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender] people contribute billions to this company. It is completely unacceptable that such a high-profile company should be sponsoring a boxer who is encouraging violence towards LGBT people. Tell Nike to drop its sponsorship,” the petition read.- Yahoo News Philippines
Although Pacquiao stands firm on his anti same-sex marriage stance, he has apologized for his remarks in several posts to his various social media accounts.
“I’m sorry for hurting people by comparing homosexuals to animals. Please forgive me for those I’ve hurt. I still stand on my belief that I’m against same sex marriage because of what the Bible says, but I’m not condemning LGBT. I love you all with the love of the Lord. God Bless you all and I’m praying for you,” Pacquiao said.