Nike, on Wednesday terminated its endorsement deals with boxer Manny Pacquiao after he condemned same-sex couples.
While speaking on an election campaign television show on Tuesday, Pacquiao made a public statement in his native Philippines, in which he said that gays and lesbians were “worse than animals” because animals don’t have sex with the opposite gender.
“Do you see animals mating with the same sex?” he said. “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.”
His anti-gay comments caused outrage for many Filipinos. “Some people think they can judge people like God just because they’ve attended a prayer meeting and read the Bible,” said Jose Marie Borja Viceral, a famous Filipino comedian.
Pacquiao apologized on Twitter within hours.
“I’m sorry for hurting people by comparing homosexuals to animals,” Pacquiao tweeted. “Please forgive me for those I hurt. God bless!”
That apology did little to appease Nike, who issued a statement reading: “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.”
Pacquiao was more of a billboard for Nike, which had its swoosh on his shorts for fights and on his shoes.
Nike has been more active in terminating contracts of late, than any other time in their history, the footwear manufacturing company recently severed deals with cyclist Lance Armstrong, running back Ray Rice, running back Adrian Peterson and sprinter Oscar Pistorius.