Nike has terminated its contract with Manny Pacquiao, after the boxer made derogatory comments about gay couples.
“We find Manny Pacquiao’s comments abhorrent,” the company 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.”
Earlier this week, Pacquiao – who is running for a senate seat in his native Philippines – was asked about his stance on same-sex marriage. As a conservative Christian candidate, it wasn’t surprising to hear that he supports the so-called “traditional” union of one man and one woman. But he raised eyebrows with what he said next.
“It’s common sense. Will you see any animals where male is to male and female is to female?” he asked. “The animals are better. They know how to distinguish male from female. If we approve [of] male on male, female on female, then man is worse than animals.”
Those comments earned him criticism in his homeland, with some even calling for a boycott of his campaign. Pacquiao soon apologized for his remarks – sort of – saying “I’m sorry for hurting people by comparing homosexuals to animals,” but adding “I’m not condemning LGBT…I’m praying for you.”
The partnership between Nike and Pacquiao stretches all the way back at least eight years, though TMZ Sports points out that the company was quick to remove all of the boxer’s merchandise from its online store on Wednesday.