Nike yesterday dropped Manny Pacquiao from its endorsement roster following his discriminatory comments on a Filipino television station.
"Have you seen any animal having male-to-male or female-to-female relations?" Pacquiao said, according to ESPN. "If you have male-to-male or female-to-female [relationships], then people are worse than animals."
Pacquiao issued a weak apology on Twitter and Instagram a few hours after his comments were made public, but reiterated his stance against same-sex marriage. Shortly after he was dropped from Nike, Pacquiao posted a Bible verse that condones the death penalty for homosexual acts. The post has since been deleted from his account.
HRC applauds Nike for taking swift action. Endorsements of celebrities like Pacquiao – who is the Philippines most popular professional athlete and celebrity -- prop these individuals up as important role models for youth. Allowing an endorsee to make such derogatory, homophobic comments unchecked sends a dangerous message to LGBTQ youth.
“Nike has been an industry leader for LGBT equality, earning top marks on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index for over a decade. Nike’s step is in line with their long commitment to equality – a commitment that is truly walking the walk. Quite simply, homophobic or anti-LGBT remarks have no place in a successful business or its spokespeople”