Nike drops Manny Pacquiao over comments about homosexuality

by Melinda Taylor
Posted 2/18/16, 02:40 pm

World champion boxer-turned-politician Manny Pacquiao apologized on social media for saying that people who engage in homosexual acts are “worse than animals,” but not before the remark cost him Nike’s sponsorship.

Pacquiao, a congressman running for senate in the Philippines, made the comment when a Filipino television station asked him about his views on same-sex marriage.

“It’s common sense,” Pacquiao told the TV5 network, speaking in his native language in a video shared online. “Do you see animals mating with the same sex? 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.”

A Nike spokesperson said the company found 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,” he said. “We no longer have a relationship with Manny Pacquiao.”

The boxer later apologized on social media but said he stood by his beliefs about marriage.

Wearing a white, Nike T-shirt in a photo posted to Instagram, he said: “I’m sorry for hurting people by comparing homosexuals to animals. Please forgive me for those I’ve hurt. I still stand on my belief that I’m against same-sex marriage because of what the Bible says, but I’m not condemning LGBT.”

Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum, said Pacquiao’s comments were intended for an audience in the Philippines, a deeply Catholic country where same-sex marriage is banned.

Greg Scott, vice president of media communications for Alliance Defending Freedom, said Nike has the right to pick its spokespeople. But the company’s actions send a signal “that if you don’t bow to the orthodoxy imposed by corporate America and the government, you should prepare to be silenced and punished.”

Scott said Nike’s decision “highlights the hypocrisy of those who applaud Nike’s exercise of conscience, yet cheer the government when it punishes businesses and religious organizations who don’t hold today’s politically popular views on marriage, family, and life.”

Pacquiao lost to Floyd Mayweather Jr. last year in the most lucrative fight in the history of professional boxing. He reportedly made more than $100 million in the contest. Pacquiao is guaranteed $20 million to fight Timothy Bradley in an April match in Las Vegas. Arum said the boxer could lose some fight sponsors because of his remarks.

Known as one of the Philippines’ most famous people and most popular athlete, Pacquiao became a congressman representing the Sarangani province in 2010. Many speculate he will seek the country’s presidency in 2022.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Melinda Taylor

Melinda is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute's mid-career course.

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  • JerryM
    Posted: Fri, 04/15/2016 12:47 pm

    And we, as consumers, have the power not to buy from corporations that use unethical practices or advance immorality. This, however, brings to mind the idols worshipped in Western culture: How are we, as believers, idolizing Nike? And taking the argument that Nike is working to advance the LGBT lifestyle, do we so now to our clearer detriment?

  •  Paul B. Taylor's picture
    Paul B. Taylor
    Posted: Fri, 04/15/2016 12:47 pm

    Pacquiao's being disciplined reveals two things.  Corporate America, concerned with making money, has dropped the boxing champion just for that reason.  It is part of the moral revolution where the economy is being rigged toward homosexuality, so that big companies can increase profits.  The other thing that is revealed is a lack of understanding and accommodation toward a member of another culture that does not allow same-sex marriage.

  • stephenc
    Posted: Fri, 04/15/2016 12:47 pm

    It is worth noting that what Pacquiao actually said (see is:“It’s common sense. Will you see any animals where male is to male and
    female is to female? The animals are better. They know how to
    distinguish male from female. If we approve [of] male on male, female
    on female, then man is worse than animals.”The man didn't compare those who engage in homesexual acts to animals. He said that a philosophy that approves of that inherently places man lower than the animals. It's a philosophical statement, not a personal attack. He's not saying "I believe any person who practices homosexuality is comparable to animal." He's saying "I believe that anyone who philosophically approves of homosexuality holds a philosophy that, if taken to its logical conclusion, would imply that man is lower than the animals." He is, in fact, implying that that is what is wrong approval of homosexuality. That, in turn, actually implies that Pacquiao believes that what distinguishes his philosophy is that it explicitly says that even humans who commit homosexual acts are still distinct from and over animals. In this scenario, Pacquiao is the one NOT comparing active homosexuals to animals.