Nike has terminated its contract with the boxer Manny Pacquiao after he claimed people in same-sex relationships are “worse than animals”.
Nike released a statement on Wednesday that read: “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.”
Manny Pacquiao provokes storm by calling gay people ‘worse than animals’
The 37-year-old, who is running for a seat in the Philippines senate in May’s elections as a conservative Christian, made the remark in a video posted on local station TV5’s election site.
“It’s common sense,” the eight-times world champion, who later apologised, said. “Do you see animals mating with the same sex? Animals are better because they can distinguish male from female. If men mate with men and women mate with women they are worse than animals.”
Pacquiao initially appeared unrepentant with a post on Instagram stating he was “just telling the truth of what the Bible says”.
However, he later wrote on Facebook he was “not condemning LGBT”, while still voicing his opposition for gay marriage.
The country’s most popular gay comedian, Vice Ganda, posted #PrayForMannyPacquiao to his 6.7 m illionfollowers on Twitter as he hit back at the boxer, adding: “Some people think they can judge people like God just because they’ve attended a prayer meeting and read the Bible. The senate needs experts on politics and law, not blind prophets.”
Pacquiao, who was beaten by Floyd Mayweather last year in the “fight of the century”, is due to face Timothy Bradley Jr in April.