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Nike ditches Manny Pacquiao after boxer labels homosexuals ‘worse than animals’ on TV show

Manny Pacquio in Nike ad

Manny Pacquiao in Nike ad

The most popular sporting hero in the Philippines’ history has lost a lucrative endorsement contract with sportswear giant Nike after he described homosexuals as “worse than animals” in an interview.

Boxer Manny Pacquiao, who has ambitions to run for the presidency of the Philippines, was discussing his political opposition to same-sex marriage on a local TV show when he asked why gay sex is not seen in the animal kingdom – which it is, among animals ranging from dolphins, bonobo monkeys and goats, to horses, rats, bears and humans.

Pacquiao said that homosexuals are “worse than animals” and it wasn’t until much later that he apologised for his comment after initially standing by it.

Nike ad with Manny Pacquiao and Koby Bryant

Nike ad with Manny Pacquiao and Kobe Bryant

Nike commented yesterday: “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 confirmed that it would no longer be working with the boxer.

Eventually, on Pacquiao’s Facebook page, he made a video almost-apology in Tagalog while wearing a Nike t-shirt.

Manny Pacquiao says sorry (sort of)

Manny Pacquiao says sorry

He posted: “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. I love you all with the love of the Lord. God Bless you all and I’m praying for you.”

The Filipino boxer secured his first contract with Nike in 2006. Other major endorsement deals include those with Harry Reid, Monster energy, Sony and Hennessy.

Pacquiao’s comments have resulted in him losing thousands of Twitter followers, down from around 2m to under 9,000 in a matter of hours.

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