Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE) ended its relationship with Manny Pacquiao after the boxing champion made a derogatory comment towards gay people.
In a statement, Nike said, “We no longer have a relationship with Manny Pacquiao,” and emphasized that it “strongly opposes discrimination of any kind.”
The company added that it has a long history of supporting and standing up for the rights of the LGBT community. Nike also stated that Manny Pacquiao’s comment towards gay people was “abhorrent.”
Manny Pacquiao told GMA News that he respects Nike’s decision and clarified that his agreement with the company is for clothing sponsorship. He added that they are now in discussions with a potential clothing sponsor.
During an interview with the local TV5, Manny Pacquiao said, “ As Christian, same-sex marriage is prohibited. A man is created for a woman. A woman is created for a man.
“It’s common sense, do you see animals mating with same sex. Animals are better because they can differentiate male from female. If we approve men mate with men and women mate with women, then man is worse than animals, he added.
Pacquiao also emphasized, “But, I am not condemning them, only the marriage–committing sin against God.”
Filipino celebrities condemned Manny Pacquiao
Manny Pacquioa’s comment infuriated the LGBT community not just in the Philippines, but around the world. Some of the well-known Filipino celebrities including Aiza Seguerra, Boy Abunda, Vice Ganda and Lea Salonga condemned the boxing champion.
Aiza Sequerra, a singer who married her actress-girlfriend called the boxing champion as an “ignorant, bigoted hypocrite.”
Boy Abunda said he was deeply hurt by Pacquiao as he compared the LGBT community to animals. He told the boxing champion, “I am not begging you for respect. I am not begging you for my humanity because you do not own my humanity. That’s my birth right. Do you think I will vote for a person who sees me worse than an animal? Abunda said the answer to that question is common sense. Pacquiao is running for Senator in the Philippines.
Vice Ganda wrote on Twitter, “The LGBT is a group of people. We are humans. But not animals. Though we’re no saints we will pray for Manny Pacquiao.”
On the other hand, Lea Salonga tweeted, “I’m just going to leave this right here…Homosexuality is found in over 450 species. Homophobia is found in only one.”
Manny Pacquiao apologized
The boxing champion initially responded to the criticisms on Instagram with a picture of himself and wife and message: “I rather obey the Lord’s command than obeying the desire of the flesh. I’m not condemning anyone, but I’m just telling the truth of what the Bible says.”
He eventually apologized to the LGBT community, and maintained his conviction against same-sex marriage. He said, “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.”