Nike drops Pacquiao after anti-gay comments, other sponsors asked to follow suit Nike drops Pacquiao after anti-gay comments, other sponsors asked to follow suit

Published in Metro Weekly.

Boxer Manny Pacquiao’s recent homophobic comments have landed him in serious hot water. During his campaign for election to the Philipines Senate, Pacquiao called gay people “worse than animals.”

“If people then engage in male to male, female to female relations, then they are worse than animals,” the boxer said.

He attempted to apologize on Instagram, saying he was “sorry for hurting people by comparing homosexuals to animals… [But] I still stand on my belief that I’m against same-sex marriage because of what the Bible says.”

As a result of outcry from the LGBT community, Nike — one of his biggest sponsors — has dropped Pacquiao from their roster of athletes. Nike has worked with Pacquiao for almost a decade, but the pro-LGBT company issued a statement calling the boxer’s comments “abhorrent.”

“We find Manny Pacquiao’s comments abhorrent,” the company said. “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.”

TMZ reports that Pacquiao’s team tried to save the lucrative relationship, but Nike was uninterested.

Now, pressure is growing on Pacquiao’s other sponsors to cancel contracts with the Filipino. In a statement, One Million Kids for Equality said that they “[appreciate] Nike’s decision to cut ties with Manny Pacquiao and strongly encourages Foot Locker and others to do the same.”

“Manny is seen as a role model for youth around the world and we find his words deeply disturbing,” the organization’s president, Brian Delaney said. “Words like the ones mentioned above are extremely harmful to LGBTQ and allied youth who may have previously looked up to him.”

Now, prior sponsors are rushing to distance themselves from Pacquiao’s comments. Adweek reports that Wonderful Pistachio, which worked with Pacquiao in 2012, “is not currently affiliated with Manny Pacquiao nor do his views align with ours,” according to spokeswoman Jennifer George. In an email, Nestle confirmed to Gay Star News that the company “is not a current sponsor of Manny Pacquiao. We had a one-time promotion with him in 2015, which has ended.” Foot Locker has yet to comment on their sponsorship deal with Pacquiao.

Forbes reports that Pacquiao earned $12 million last year from endorsements, licensing and other appearances. It’s a small fraction of the $160 million he earned as a result of his bout with Floyd Mayweather.

After Nike, pressure grows on Foot Locker and other sponsors to drop Manny Pacquiao

Published in Gay Star News.

Sportswear brand Nike acted swiftly yesterday to distance itself from the controversy surrounding Manny Pacquiao.

The Filipino boxer said earlier in the week that gay people were ‘worse than animals’. He subsequently apologized for any hurt his comments might have caused.

Nike, which has sponsored him for just over eight years, issued a statement yesterday saying that it found his Pacquiao’s views ‘abhorrent’ and clarifying that it had terminated its commercial relationship with the athlete turned politician.

LGBTI campaigners are now demanding that other brands associated with the boxer also distance themselves from him, namely Foot Locker – who aired a new commercial with Pacquiao last year – and Nestlé.

In a statement, One Million Kids for Equality said that it ‘appreciates Nike’s decision to cut ties with Manny Pacquiao and strongly encourages Foot Locker and others to do the same.’

The organization’s President, Brad Delaney said: ‘Manny is seen as a role model for youth around the world and we find his words deeply disturbing. Words like the ones mentioned above are extremely harmful to LGBTQ and allied youth who may have previously looked up to him.’

Ad Week reported that Wonderful Pistachios, who shot a campaign with Pacquiao in 2012, which it re-aired in 2015, says it has not worked with the boxer since last year and distanced itself from his views.

‘Wonderful Pistachios is not currently affiliated with Manny Pacquiao nor do his views align with ours,’ said the brand’s spokeswoman, Jennifer George, in a statement.

‘Wonderful Pistachios stands firmly for diversity and equality, and we proudly support marriage equality and inclusion around the world.’

Unlike other professional athletes, who rely heavily on sponsorship money as a source of income, boxers at Pacquiao’s level traditionally earn the bulk of their income from matches. It’s thought that he earned over $100million (€90million) from his fight against Floyd Mayweather last year.

However, Forbes still estimate that he earned $12million (€10.8million) last year through endorsements, chiefly Nike, Foot Locker and Nestlé – so being dumped by the sportswear brand is sure to rankle. It also sends out a strong message to other athletes that expressing homophobic views is increasingly unacceptable for commercial sponsors.

The termination of commercial endorsements is also sure to smart with those members of Pacquiao’s team who helped to arrange them.

‘When we fail to educate and persuade athletes directly, and many LGBT activists have tried for years with Mr. Pacquiao, then trust this: Their managers, agents and PR teams will do our work for us,’ said Scott Wooledge of social media campaign creation company,Memeographs. They all work on commission. ‘And earning ten or more percent of $12M is better for them than 10% of nothing.’

Foot Locker has not responded to a request for comment from Gay Star Business.

UPDATE: Nestlé say that they have no current relationship with Manny Pacquiao. In an email, Meike Schmidt, Corporate Spokesperson, told Gay Star Business: ‘Nestlé is not a current sponsor of Manny Pacquiao. We had a one-time promotion with him in 2015, which has ended.’

Pacquiao issues apology, faces backlash

Published in the Windy City Times.

Boxer Manny Pacquiao issued what some are calling a weak apology after causing a storm by claiming gay people are “worse than animals,” The Daily Mail reported.

The pugilist world champion made the comments in a television interview in the Philippines, where he is running for a senate seat in the May elections. At one point, he asked, “It’s common sense. Do you see animals mating with the same sex?” In his apology, he posted on Facebook, “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.”

Pacquiao is already facing consequences as a result of his comments. CNNMoney noted that Nike has dropped him as an endorser, saying it found what he said to be “abhorrent.” Nike has previously dropped other athletes, including Lance Armstrong, Ray Rice and Michael Vick; however, the company re-signed Vick after five years and kept its contract with Kobe Bryant in the wake of his charge for sexual assault.

“Manny is seen as a role model for youth around the world and we find his words deeply disturbing. Words like the ones mentioned above are extremely harmful to LGBTQ and allied youth who may have previously looked up to him” said Brad Delaney, president of One Million Kids For Equality, in a statement. Athletes such as basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson—who has a gay son of his own—applauded Nike for its action, according to Queerty.