A Manny Pacquiao gay slur leads to Nike contract termination yet the boxer expresses no regret at his stance, but at admits to wrong choice of words. This has certainly not come as a complete surprise that the sportswear giant Nike decided to end their endorsement after the Filipino boxer made anti-LGBTQ remarks.
The disgraced boxer said: “They know how to distinguish male from female. If we approve [of] male on male, female on female, then man is worse than animals.” This was aired during a television interview in the Philippines on February 15.
The backlash from Manny Pacquiao’s comments was immediate and far-reaching. A petition was put out by Change.org that demanded Nike terminate its relationship with Pacquiao. To mitigate the impact of this negative publicity, Nike was willing to face any legal actions breaking the contract might provoke early on February 17.
While initially appearing unrepentant and expressing no regret of his comments, Manny has since changed his tune when faced with the consequences. Nike’s withdrawal of its endorsement has seen him posting on Facebook that while he was not condemning the LGBTQ community, he maintained his stance on gay marriage.
He cajolingly added that he would be praying for LGBTQ people, but is this too little too late? It certainly appears that the damage has been done and is irreparable.
The 37-year-old Pacquiao is actually running for a seat on the Filipino senate in upcoming elections. What are his qualifications you ask to help lead his nation? Why they are punching people in the face… hard.
In a statement to The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, February 17, a Nike spokesperson said the company found the boxer’s comments “…abhorrent…” and “…no longer has a relationship…” with Pacquiao. Discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people is strongly opposed by the company; instead it supports their rights. Therefore someone with the views of Pacquiao would not be tolerated.
Jason Collins did not mince words and delivered a quick response to Manny’s comments via Twitter. Declaring that he lost all respect for the boxer, Collins stated that bigots such as Manny should not hold positions in politics. This of course was particularly close to home for Jason Collins who came out as the first openly gay athlete in major sports in the United States.
Boxing promoter Bob Arum was also quick to describe the comments of Manny as “…reprehensible…” Pacquiao’s promoter also commended Nike on the move. Speaking on the TMZ Sports, Bob Arum held that Nike’s action was appropriate.
Floyd Mayweather beat the eight-division world champion in May 2015. This was seen as a blow to Manny’s boxing career. His next performance on American soil and is set for April 2016 in Las Vegas where he will seek to redeem himself against the lost to Floyd Mayweather but also in more arenas than in the fight ring.