Nike said in a statement yesterday (Wednesday) that it found Pacquiao’s comments “abhorrent” and that it no longer has a relationship with the fighter.
Pacquiao, who was a Nike ambassador for more than eight years, told TV5 on Monday: “It's just common sense. Do you see any animals of the same sex mating? Animals are better off. They can distinguish between male and female. Now if men are mating with men and women with women, then they are worse than animals.”
The 37-year old congressman, who is expected to win a Senate seat at forthcoming elections in May as a conservative Christian, apologised for his comments in a video message on his Twitter account whilst wearing a Nike shirt.
“I'm sorry for hurting people by comparing homosexuals to animals. Please forgive me for those I've hurt,” Pacquiao said. He added that he remained against same-sex marriage, which is not allowed in the Philippines.
He had earlier posted on social network Instagram that he was “just telling the truth of what the Bible says” and then posted on Facebook that he was “not condemning LGBT” before finally uploading his apology on Twitter.
In recent time, Nike has terminated a number of endorsement deals which include athletes like cyclist Lance Armstrong, American football star Ray Rice and sprinter Oscar Pistorius.
For many years, athletes has also suffered similar issues with brand owners. Brazilian footballer Ronaldinho was axed from his Coca-Cola sponsorship deal after appearing with a can of Pepsi during a press conference at Atletico Minerio.
Similarly, Proctor & Gamble brand Gillette cut tie with pro-golfer Tiger Woods in light of his infidelity scandal in 2009.