Nike has terminated its endorsement contract with Manny Pacquiao after the Filipino boxer made derogatory remarks about LGBT people.
“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,” Nike said in a statement, as reported by ESPN.
Nike claims to be a supporter of the LGBT Sports Coalition and its initiatives to end discrimination in sport. The company helped found the LGBT Sports Coalition in 2011, and continues to support the coalition through the #BETRUE collection.
Darren Rovell, ESPN Sports business reporter and ABC News business correspondent, also reported that Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum said that “if he were running Nike he would have to fire Manny too”.
On February 15, Pacquiao said in a recorded interview that “common sense lang. Makakita ka ba ng any animals na lalaki sa lalaki o babae sa babae? Mabuti pa yung hayop marunong kumikilala kung lalaki o lalaki, babae o babae. Ngayon, kung lalaki sa lalaki o babae sa babae, mas masahol pa sa hayop ang tao (Roughly: It’s just common sense. Do you see animals where a male pairs with another male, or female with female? Animals are better in that they discern if a male is male, or female is female. Now if it’s a man with another man or a woman with another woman, then a human is worse than animals).”
Pacquiao, 37, is currently a member of the House of Representatives and is running for the country’s senate.
Due to his denigrating comments, a petition was launched on Change.org by Rutgers University graduate student Aries Dela Cruz on Tuesday, urging Nike to drop Pacquiao.
“Pacquiao’s expressions of homophobia and bigotry disqualifies him from being honored, endorsed and sponsored by one of the world’s largest publicly-traded and owned athletic companies, particularly one that is celebrated and well-known for their promotion of sportsmanship and excellence,” Dela Cruz wrote in the petition.
The #droppacman hashtag also made the rounds on social media.
Pacquiao joins other disgraced athletes dumped by Nike, including Lance Armstrong and Oscar Pistorius; though the company stayed with Tiger Woods when the golfer was engulfed in a sex scandal in 2009-2010.
Pacquiao is slated to fight Timothy Bradley for the third time this April 9. This is supposed to be his final fight.