The sportswear giant released a statement saying it found the boxing hero’s controversial comments, made in an interview for TV5’s Bilang Pilipino election program, “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
Actually, it was not the first time Nike cut its ties with the Filipino boxing hero.Nike had also dropped the Sarangani congressman as its endorser back in 2012, following similar comments he made then that same sex marriages are against the law of God. And with a devastating loss to Juan Manuel Marquez, many endorsement partners walked away from Pacquiao, including Nike.
However, Pacquiao and Nike forged a new partnership by 2014, where the apparel giant even came out with a Pacquiao line of shirts and hoodies in time for his superbout with Floyd Mayweather Jr. in May last year.
According to a report from Forbes.com, sales of the Nike Pacquiao line were modest after the Filipino fighting congressman lost and the fight failing to meet expectations, generating less than $1 million in royalties for the world’s second highest-paid athlete in 2015.
With the latest fallout from his remarks against same sex marriages, the 37-year-old Pacquiao joined a list of top athletes dropped by Nike after they figured in various controversies, joining discredited cycling champion Lance Armstrong and convicted para-athlete Oscar Pistorius.
But that has not always been the case between Nike and its other top endorsers. The giant apparel brand didn't terminate the contracts of NBA superstar Kobe Bryant and former world No. 1 Tiger Woods when they dealt with personal controversies.
It’s also fair to note that the major sports brand has turned back from their decision to drop certain athletes following a revival of the certain sports star’s career, and Pacquiao knows it all too well.