Boxing icon and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao who is facing criticism for his recent anti-gay comments has accepted US brand Nike’s decision to end his product endorsement with the sports giant.
In a statement, Pacquiao said he respected Nike’s stand in support of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community which he was at odds with, Philstar reported.
“Kung ano man 'yong decision nila, desisyon nila 'yon, nirerespeto ko at tsaka ang pag-sponsor nila sa akin, 'yung mga damit lang naman para sa fight,” he said.
The report added that the eight-division world champion was already looking for a possible new sponsor.
On Thursday, Nike severed ties with Pacquiao who was among their roster of elite endorsers in the world of boxing.
This was after Pacquiao made the controversial statement where he likened the LGBT community to animals. He has since apologized for this but maintains his stand against same sex marriage.
For his part, Pacquiao’s promoter and Top Rank CEO Bob Arum said he had to side with Nike this time.
“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,” he said.
“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,” he added.
Pacquiao is scheduled to step in the ring one final time as he faces US boxer Timothy Bradley Jr. for the third time in his retirement fight on April 9.