Manny Pacquiao says he respects Nike's decision to sever his contract but stands by his controversial opposition to gay marriage. Pacquiao insists on his views and is happy "a lot of people were alarmed by the truth," according to an Associated Press report (h/t the Guardian):
Whatever decision Nike makes is its decision and I respect that and its sponsorship of me now only involves my clothes for my fight. Our contract has already ended aside from sponsoring the boxing.
I am not condemning the LGBT. What I am condemning is the act. I’m happier because I’m telling the truth ... It’s worse if we will hide the truth. I’m happier that a lot of people were alarmed by the truth.
Nike decided to cut ties with the decorated boxer after his recent comments, per Mark Dobson of the Guardian. As a candidate for election in the Philippines, Pacquiao made his remarks in a video that appeared on local TV station TV5's website.
Pacquiao's statements have naturally been met with disapproval despite his insistence that he was not offending the LGBT community. The fighter even took to Twitter to post a message asking for forgiveness:
I'm sorry for hurting people by comparing homosexuals to animals. Please forgive me for those I've hurt. God Bless! pic.twitter.com/bqjRcWqp8R— Manny Pacquiao (@mannypacquiao) February 16, 2016
As CNN's Chris Murphy detailed, Pacquiao stood by his initial views and said, "[This] does not change my position against same-sex marriage. That's what I believe. My only mistake is comparing gay people to animals."
Pacquiao's comments come after heavyweight champion Tyson Fury sparked controversy by voicing opposition to homosexuality. Fury spoke during an interview with Nick Craven for the Mail on Sunday, sparking protests at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year ceremony, per BBC.com.
The loss of sponsorship followed condemnation from his promoter, Bob Arum, who dubbed the comments "reprehensible" in an interview with RingTV.com, as noted by Mitch Abramson.