After drawing criticism for anti-gay comments, boxer Manny Pacquiao lost his endorsement contract with Nike.
Pacquiao apologized for his comments, but the apology wasn’t enough for Nike. The company announced Wednesday that it cut ties with the boxer.
BREAKING: Nike has terminated its contract with Manny Pacquiao due to recent comments. Nike statement: pic.twitter.com/3xZ7e08EtU
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) February 17, 2016
Rovell added via Twitter that Pacquiao is far from the first athlete Nike has dumped. Along with Pacquiao, Nike has canceled contracts with Lance Armstrong, Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, and Oscar Pistorius all for various violations of its morality clause.
Pacquiao has been under contract with Nike since 2006.
The boxer raised eyebrows after speaking against gay relationships in an interview in his native country of the Philippines. According to the gossip site TMZ.com, Pacquiao said humans engaging in homosexuality were “worse than animals” because same-sex relationships do not exist in the wild.
The 37-year-old boxing world champion, who enjoys a political career in his home country, spoke out against gay relationships during the interview saying, “It’s common sense. Will you see any animals where male is to male and female is to female?”
“The animals are better,” the boxer known as Pacman 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.”
After his comments stirred intense response, Pacquiao apologized, saying, “I’m sorry for hurting people by comparing homosexuals to animals … please forgive me for those I’ve hurt.”
Pacquiao, who faces Tim Bradley in a final fight in April, made a detailed apology on his Facebook page.
“I’m sorry for hurting people by comparing homosexuals to animals,” he wrote on February 16. “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. I love you all with the love of the Lord. God Bless you all and I’m praying for you.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org