Sports brand Nike has dropped its sponsorship of boxing star Manny Pacquiao after he said that LGBT people were ‘worse than animals’.
In a statement today, Nike said, ‘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.’
Nike, like fellow sports brand Adidas, has a strong track record of supporting LGBT athletes and causes.
Filipino boxer Pacquiao, whose 20-year career has seen him win world boxing titles in eight different weight classes, made the comments in a 30-second interview this week. It was on Monday – while being interviewed for local television channel TV5 – when he publicly opposed same-sex marriage and made the controversial comments.
‘It’s just common sense,’ he said. ‘Do you see any animals of the same sex mating? Animals are better off, they can distinguish between male and female.’
His comments are in contrast to actual scientific evidence which does show same sex mating in the animal kingdom.
‘Now if men are mating with men and women with women, then they are worse than animals,’ he said.
Later, Pacquiao published a video on Twitter in which he apologised for his remarks.
According to Forbes Magazine, Pacquiao earned $160m in 2015, including $148m in winnings and $12m in endorsements.
Pacquiao – also a two-term congressman in the Philippines – previously apologised for remarks made in 2012b when he also criticised same sex marriage.
Same-sex marriage is currently illegal in the largely Catholic Philippines, where over 80 percent of the 100 million population is Roman Catholic.