Manny Pacquiao's Nike endorsement contract was terminated today after the boxer made insulting comments about same-sex couples on a Filipino television station earlier in the week. The Beaverton, Ore.-based company, in statement, said, "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 Filipino boxer was and endorser of the brand a little longer than eight years and caused a firestorm with his comments.
"Have you seen any animal having male-to-male or female-to-female relations?" he said. "If you have male-to-male or female-to-female [relationships], then people are worse than animals." Pacquiao attempted to backtrack on his comments on Twitter shortly after the broadcast.
According to Darren Rovell of ESPN, Pacquiao was not a real revenue-driving athlete, but more a "billboard," with the iconic Nike swoosh adorning the boxer's shorts and footwear.
ESPN.com also spoke with Pacquiao's promoter, Bob Arum, who noted, "Nike is in the business of selling its products to as wide of an audience as they can, and Manny's comments were insulting to a lot of people. If I was running Nike, I would have to make the same decision they did."
Nike, as mentioned in their statement, is a long-time supporter of the LGBT community — including developing the #BeTrue LGBT-inspired collection in addition to other initiatives such as supporting marriage equality.