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Nike Cuts Ties With Manny Pacquiao Over Homophobic Comments

Nike Cuts Ties With Manny Pacquiao Over Homophobic Comments

Magic Johnson applauds company knocking boxer out of endorsement deal.

Published February 18, 2016

Update: Already, people are applauding Nike's decision to dump Manny Pacquiao as an endorser for the Swoosh.

One of them is NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson, who took to his Twitter account Thursday to commend the sneaker and apparel giant for its decision, while vowing to never watch another Pac-man fight again.

"I applaud Nike for terminating Manny Pacquiao's contract after his derogatory statements that gay people are worse than animals," Johnson tweeted. "Fans of all walks of life including gay fans supported May/Pac fight putting $100M in his pocket. I guess to him their money is still green. I won't be watching another one of Manny Pacquiao's fights."

Magic's probably one of many who feel that exact same way, too.

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Nike just knocked Manny Pacquiao out... and quickly.

A day after learning of the boxer's derogatory comments about gays, the Swoosh announced Wednesday that it's cutting ties with Pacquiao, ending his endorsement deal of more than eight years.

"We find Manny Pacquiao's comments abhorrent," the company said in a statement, as reported by ESPN. "Nike strongly opposes discrimination of any kind and has a long history of supporting and standing up for the rights of the LGBT community."

This comes after the boxing great and Philippine Senate candidate declared that people in gay relationships are "worse than animals" on the Philippine television network TV5.

"Have you seen any animal having male-to-male or female-to-female relations?" Pacquiao said. "If you have male-to-male or female-to-female [relationships], then people are worse than animals."

Wow. Really, Manny?

Within hours, Pacquiao apologized, tweeting: "I'm sorry for hurting people by comparing homosexuals to animals. Please forgive me for those I hurt. God bless!"

The apology wasn't enough for Nike to continue its endorsement relationship with Pac-man.

Upon learning of Pacquiao's comments, Floyd Mayweather Jr. used the opportunity to throw some jabs at his rival, too.

"We should let people live their lives the way they want to live their lives," Mayweather told TMZ Sports on Tuesday. "To each his own."

And that's coming from Mayweather, who hasn't been exactly politically correct over the course of his own career.

Pacquiao's comments were so overwhelmingly damaging that even his boxing promoter, Bob Arum, said Nike was right to cut ties with his client.

"Nike is in the business of selling its products to as wide of an audience as they can, and Manny's comments were insulting to a lot of people," Arum told ESPN. "His comments were made to a Filipino audience, where same-sex marriage is not as accepted as it is here, and Manny is a convert of enlightened Christianity, which does not believe in same-sex relationships. But to people in the United States, his words can only be viewed as hate speech. If I was running Nike, I would have to make the same decision they did."

It remains to be seen how Pacquiao's comments will affect him running for Senate.

In the meantime, he's set to fight Timothy Bradley for the third and final time on April 9.

BET Sports News — Get the latest news and information about African-Americans in sports, including weekly recaps, celebrity news and photos of your favorite Black athletes.

(Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Written by Mark Lelinwalla

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