Nike drops relationship with former boxer
MANILA–It seems that boxing champion Manny Pacquiao’s punch against same sex marriage has buckled him despite issuing an apology.
Nike has announced that it’s cutting ties with Philippines Senate candidate Pacquiao following his derogatory remarks on same-sex marriage where he said those who engage in same-sex relations are “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 said in a statement issued Thursday.
Even Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum agreed with the global shoe, clothing and athletic gear giant’s decision to drop the former boxing sensation.
“Manny’s remarks were offensive to many people,” Arum told TMZ Sports.
“Nike is in the business of selling its products to as wide of an audience as they can, and Manny’s comments were insulting to a lot of people … His comments were made to a Filipino audience, where same-sex marriage is not as accepted as it is here, and Manny is a convert of enlightened Christianity, which does not believe in same-sex relationships. But to people in the United States, his words can only be viewed as hate speech. If I was running Nike, I would have to make the same decision they did,” Arum told ESPN.com.
Pacquiao, who is running for the Senate in the Philippines’ May 2016 elections, said in a TV interview: “Common sense lang. Makakakita ka ba ng any animals na lalaki sa lalaki o babae sa babae? Mas mabuti pa yung hayop, marunong kumilala kung lalaki, lalaki o babae, babae.”[It’s common sense. Would you see any animals engage in male to male or female to female [sexual relations]. Animals are better than humans [because] they recognize a male and female.]
“Kung lalaki sa lalaki o babae sa babae, mas masahol pa sa hayop ang tao. [If people will engage in male to male or female to female sexual relations, then humans are worse than animals],” he added.
To date, the video of the interview has had 3,468,625 views on Facebook. (Here is the link to the video)
Pacquiao quickly issued an apology after he was criticized by LGBT communities as well as local celebrities and international blogger Perez Hilton.
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A day after he issued the apology, undefeated boxing champ Floyd Mayweather Jr. issued a statement telling Pacquiao to stop trashing gays.
“We should stay positive. We should let people live their lives the way they want to live their lives. I don’t have nothing against anyone. To each his own,” Mayweather Jr. told TMZ.
Other athletes also joined in denouncing Pacquiao.
Joseph Anthony “Joey” Barton, an English professional footballer, in his twitter account said “Pacquiao is a huge global star who transcended his sport. He is politically motivated to help less privileged people. His comments are absurd and show lack of intellect. Someone in his position should keep his ignorant bigotry private…”
Jason Collins, a retired NBA player tweeted “@mannypacquiao I lost all respect for you. Bigoted people like you (& yes you are one) should never hold an office in politics.”
On the other hand, Lianne Sanderson, a professional soccer player for Orlando Pride said “people are entitled to their opinions but @mannypacquiao you just lost a few fans, I would say its a disgrace what you said. #ignorant.”
Even former Australia Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, in his verified twitter account said “homophobia not acceptable Manny. People don’t just choose their sexuality like a suit of clothes.”
Some back comments
Still, there are those who stood by Pacquiao.
Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, a veteran politician and one of the key figures in toppling the Philippines dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos told critics of Pacquiao to “go to another planet.”
Aside from Enrile, Vice President Jejomar Binay, who is running for Philippines president urged the public “to go back to who is Manny Pacquiao now. Maka-Diyos na maka-Diyos si Manny Pacquiao [Manny Pacquiao is a God-fearing man],” he said.
Pacquiao is running for Senate under the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) whose standard-bearer is Vice President Binay.