ESPN’s Darren Rovell confirmed via Twitter on Wednesday that Nike will no longer sponsor Pacquiao.
BREAKING: Nike has terminated its contract with Manny Pacquiao due to recent comments. Nike statement: pic.twitter.com/3xZ7e08EtU
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) February 17, 2016
Pacquiao, who is running for a seat in the Philippines senate, stated that people in same-sex relationships “are worse than animals” in a video posted on local TV5’s election site. The 37-year-old then posted on social media explaining his religious beliefs and later apologizing for “comparing homosexuals to animals,” but he emphasized he is against same-sex marriage “because of what the Bible says.”
“I’m sorry for hurting people by comparing homosexuals to animals,” the boxer wrote on Instagram. “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.”
Pacquiao, who was defeated by rival Floyd Mayweather Jr. last May, had been a Nike athlete since 2006, but all of his merchandise has been dropped from the brand’s website. The boxer is not the first athlete to lose Nike ties: He joins Lance Armstrong, Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and Oscar Pistorius as athletes Nike has dropped in the last three-and-a-half years.