US sports brand giant Nike has decided to sever ties with boxing icon Manny Pacquiao following his statement on same-sex marriage where he compared members of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community to animals.
In a statement, Nike made it clear that their company won’t stand for Pacquiao’s derogatory statement against the LGBT community, describing the boxer's comments as “abhorrent,” GMA News reported.
“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,” the statement read.
“We no longer have a relationship with Manny Pacquiao.”
Nike’s move comes after a New York-based Filipino started an online petition to drop Pacquiao from the prestigious brand’s line of athlete endorsers.
Pacquiao made the controversial statement in a TV interview, where he said LGBT members were worse than animals.
“Common sense lang. Makakita ka ba ng any animals na lalaki sa lalaki o babae sa babae?" said Pacquiao in his interview for TV5’s election special, Bilang Pilipino 2016. "Mas mabuti pa ‘yung hayop, marunong kumilala kung lalaki ang lalaki o babae kung babae.”
His stand against same-sex marriage drew the ire of netizens, celebrities, and personalities alike both from the local and international scene who were all united in saying that Pacquiao’s remarks were unacceptable. Some even expressed their intention not to vote for the senatorial candidate in the upcoming national elections.
Pacquiao has since publicly apologized through a video post, saying that it was not his intention to put down the LGBT community. In the same video, he also insisted that his opposition of same-sex marriage has not changed.