Manny Pacquiao sparked anger with controversial comments on the subject of same-sex marriage. The boxing champion’s comments on gay couples cost him a sponsorship deal with Nike, but won’t affect his senate run.
Pacquiao is running for a senate seat in the Philippines. The 37-year-old is currently a member of the House of Representatives. He represents his wife’s impoverished home province of Sarangani in the House of Representatives. The boxer is notorious for chronic absences. The most recent surveys suggest Pacquiao would win.
“Pacquiao has clearly offended the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community with his comments on same-sex marriage, but this group represents a minority and will not affect the boxer’s popularity among the voters,” political analyst Benito Lim told BoxingScene.com .
“He may still win the elections.”
Nike dropped Pacquiao after he was quoted as saying that people in gay relationships “are worse than animals.” Pacquiao, 37, had endorsed Nike for a little more than eight years.
“We find Manny Pacquiao’s comments abhorrent,” Nike said in a statement. “Nike strongly opposes discrimination of any kind and has a long history of supporting and standing up for the rights of the LGBT cmmunity.”
Pacquiao said he respects Nike’s but stood by his statements on same-sex marriage. The boxer added he’s happy that “a lot of people were alarmed by the truth.”
“Whatever decision Nike makes is its decision and I respect that and its sponsorship of me now only involves my clothes for my fight,” Pacquiao told reporters during a break in his training for an upcoming fight with Timothy Bradley in Las Vegas.
“Our contract has already ended aside from sponsoring the boxing,” he said.
British world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury apologized in December for criticizing homosexuality. The sport of boxing did not have a problem with homophobia.
“No matter what walk of life you come from there are bigots,” boxing promoter Frank Warren told BBC Radio 5 live. “I don’t think it’s a problem for boxing. In Tyson Fury’s case I hope it was something he said on the spur of the moment. He regrets it.
“You can’t condemn all of sport because of people’s stupid remarks. They are two boxers out of many thousands of boxers.
“Pacquiao’s certainly lost any type of sponsorship. That’s all finished. No-one’s ever going to sponsor him again.