February 17, 2016 at 5:12 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Nike cuts ties with Manny Pacquiao

Manny Pacquiao, gay news, Washington Blade

Nike on Feb. 17, 2016, announced it has cut ties with Manny Pacquiao over his controversial comments against marriage rights for same-sex couples. (Photo by inboundpass; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Nike has cut ties with Manny Pacquiao in the wake of his controversial comments against marriage rights for same-sex couples.

The boxer who is running for the Philippine Senate on Sunday said that nuptials for gays and lesbians are “more disgusting than (sex) between animals.” Pacquiao on Tuesday apologized for his comments, but reiterated his opposition to marriage rights for same-sex couples.

“We find Manny Pacquiao’s comments abhorrent,” said a Nike spokesperson on Wednesday 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 community. We no longer have a relationship with Manny Pacquiao.”

Jonas Bagas, a Philippine LGBT rights advocate, was among those who urged Nike to sever ties with Pacquiao.

“This is a a great victory not just for the LGBT community, but also for those who struggle inequality,” Bagas told the Washington Blade on Wednesday.

Dindi Tan, a member of the Quezon City Pride Council board of directors, agreed.

“We welcome the recent move of Nike to drop Manny Pacquiao from its list of global endorsers,” she said.

Bagas said other companies that have endorsement deals with Pacquiao should “follow” Nike’s example.

“Our work doesn’t end here,” Bagas told the Blade, noting the country’s national elections are scheduled to take place on May 9. “We will actively campaign against Pacquiao this elections. His treatment of LGBTs means that he is unfit for public service.”

“We hope that other global brands that have inked partnerships with Manny will also follow suit,” added Tan. “More than the severing of ties, Nike’s decision reaffirms our collective fight against bigotry and homophobia. Statements that clearly offend the sensibilities of a community like the LGBT community have no place in a civilized society. We believe that Nike’s commitment to equality and love runs paramount over bigotry and hatred.”

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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