International Boxing Champ Loses Huge Endorsement Deal
Nike has just fired boxer Manny Pacquiao over his offensive anti-gay comments.
"We find Manny Pacquiao's comments abhorrent," Nike said, according to TMZ.
Pacquiao had said that same-sex couples are "worse than animals." In a later apology, he said his views had not changed but that he was praying for gay people.
"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 $31 billion international sporting goods corporation said.
"We no longer have a relationship with Manny Pacquiao."
Nike's firing of Pacquiao, the second-highest paid sports figure in the world and a sitting lawmaker in his home country of the Philippines, is quite possibly the loudest message ever sent to those who continue to insist on expressing anti-gay attacks.
TMZ adds to its story:
Multiple sources connected to the situation tell us Manny personally tried to save the deal up until the last minute.
We're told several members of Manny's team had been communicating with Nike all morning -- begging the company to reconsider and give Manny another chance.
Outsports notes this isn't the first time Nike has dropped Pacquiao:
Today's statement looks very much like the one they released to Outsports three years ago when Pacquiao strongly opposed marriage equality, which Nike as a company has supported for about as long. Nike didn't drop Pacquiao at the time but said:
"Any recent remarks made by Manny Pacquiao reflect his personal views. Nike is strongly opposed to discrimination of any kind and has a long history of supporting and standing up for the rights of GLBT individuals."
Former NFL punter Chris Kluwe, who essentially lost his job for his support of LGBT equality, weighs in:
Good to see Nike taking a stand on Manny Pacquiao's bigoted comments. Hopefully more sponsors follow suit. https://t.co/7W29Xtes91â€” Chris Kluwe (@ChrisWarcraft) February 17, 2016
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