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Nike axes Pacquiao sponsorship; Arum agrees

After a ten year partnership, Portland-based company Nike has severed ties with Manny Pacquiao after his recent ‘homophobic’ comments.

Last February 16, 2016, boxing icon and senatorial candidate in the 2016 Philippine National Elections Manny Pacquiao stated in an interview with Bilang Filipino that he is not in favor of same-sex unions. Moreover, he described any homosexual acts as “mas masahol pa sa hayop.” Pacquiao continued his comments with his comment regarding the matter on his Facebook page. The 8-division world champion added that he was “just telling the truth of what the Bible says.”

The homophobic comment drew the ire of both local and international LGBT communities that forced Pacquiao to apologize in an Instagram post.

Early Thursday morning, Pacquiao’s apparel sponsor Nike axed Pacquiao as one the brand’s endorsers. In a statement, Nike said that, “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.”

While other brands Pacquiao endorses have yet to issue statements, boxing promoter and Top Rank head honcho Bob Arum has gone on record to say that his fighter’s comments are “reprehensible.” He added that it does not reflect anyone else involved in the promotion.

“The only way you do damage control is he apologized and we move away from the possibility that anybody would think we or Bradley or anyone connected to the fight believes in what he did say,” Arum shared in an interview with “And if he believes it, it’s unfortunate but that’s his belief. You can’t really affect somebody who is saying things that you don’t believe in but is part of their religious beliefs.”

Pacquiao is set to fight his final bout against Timothy Bradley on April 10 at the MGM Arena in Las Vegas City, USA. With the recent incidents, projections for the PPV sales for the bout have drastically lowered according to industry analysts.

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