Update: Nike Dumps Manny Pacquiao Over Recent Homophobic Rant
Nike and Manny Pacquiao have parted ways, said the sports apparel giant today, stemming from a series of quotes about gay people that Pacquiao made recently in an interview in his native Philippines. TMZ first reported earlier today that Nike was considering the move, and by the afternoon the company had dropped the hammer.
Nike issued a statement:
"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 company wrote. "We no longer have a relationship with Manny Pacquiao."
Pacquiao is running for the senate in the Philippines, and made the remarks during an interview with a TV station that was shown online.
“Have you seen any animal having male-to-male or female-to-female relations?” Pacquiao said in an interview with local station TV5. “If you have male-to-male or female-to-female (relationships), then people are worse than animals.”
Pacquiao was promptly roasted: causing an uproar in his own country, and then around the world. He was trashed on social media, among the critics several people who compiled lists of animals that engage in homosexual behavior. File that under Things I Thought I'd Never See.
Pacquiao and Nike have had a partnership since 2006.
Nike intends to drop the boxer for good. We're told the move is not official yet -- but there have been multiple discussions and we're told it appears to be heading in that direction.
By the way, it appears Nike has removed all traces of Manny from its online store.
Pacquiao has publicly apologized for his comment at least twice, although saying that he still thinks "gay marriage is wrong, because of what it says in the Bible."
It all could cost him his political ambitions and his biggest endorsement deal: an agonizing example of how words matter, especially in the social media age.
Nike is the company, don't forget, that stood by Tiger Woods during the golfer's infidelity scandal. One has to wonder what would have happened if Pacquiao had beaten Floyd Mayweather last year, however. Would Nike's stand been the same?
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