The rumors were swirling all morning but on Wednesday afternoon, apparel monolith Nike officially dropped boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao from its roster.
Pacquiao, who is a devout Catholic, came under a tremendous amount of scrutiny during the past two days for saying in an interview with Filipino station TV5 that he greatly opposes gay marriage, even comparing gays to animals.
“Woman was made for man, man was made for woman. It’s common sense,” the eight-division world champion said. “Will you see any animals where male is to male and female is to female? The animals are better. They know how to distinguish… If we approve male on male, female on female,” he added. Then man is worse than animal.”
Pacquiao initially stood by his words and released a message on his various social media outlets that he would, “rather obey the Lord’s command than obeying the desires of the flesh. I’m not condemning anyone, but I’m just telling the truth of what the Bible says.
“Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God,” he continued. “Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men. God bless everyone. I love you all.”
After the firestorm of criticism continued, the Filipino senatorial candidate had his posts removed and offered up this apology: “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.”
Nike, which had Pacquiao under its umbrella since 2006, claimed it wouldn’t stand behind the powerful slugger and opted to sever ties with him late Wednesday morning.
“We find Manny Pacquiao's comments abhorrent,” Nike said in a statement. “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.”
According to a report on TMZ Sports, Pacquiao’s team had been scrambling all morning in an attempt to salvage the endorsement deal, but Nike was having none of it.
Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38 KOs) is set to oppose rival Timothy Bradley (33-1-1, 13 KOs) in their rubber match on April 9 in Las Vegas. “Pac Man” is set to retire after the fight, win, lose or draw.
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