Nike issued a brief statement Wednesday saying it was severing its ties with boxer Manny Pacquiao over his comments about gays. The company said it no longer will have any business dealings with the boxer.
"We find Manny Pacquiao's comments abhorrent," the statement said. "Nike strongly opposes discrimination of any kind and has a long history of supporting and standing up for the rights of the LGBT community."
It may not be the only endorsement Pacquiao loses, even as he and promoter Bob Arum scramble to contain the damage done by a television interview in the Philippines in which the boxer said gay people "are worse than animals."
"What he's saying is diametrically opposed to what I believe," said Arum, who is promoting Pacquiao's upcoming fight with Timothy Bradley. "I'm in favor of gay rights and same sex marriage. I'm apologetic personally to the gay movement in the United States."
Pacquiao, 37, a congressman who is now running for Senate in the Philippines, made the comments to a television station that was asking candidates about their views on same sex marriage.
Pacquiao's remarks were criticized by several Filipino celebrities, and he responded by issuing an apology of sorts. In it, Pacquiao said he was still against same sex marriage but loved all people.
Arum told The Associated Press that Pacquiao is an evangelical Christian who believes that homosexuality is wrong, and that he was trying to win votes in the Philippines.
Gay marriage is outlawed in the Philippines largely because of strong opposition from the Catholic Church; 80 percent of the country's 100 million people subscribe to the faith.
Same-sex marriages are officiated at small churches but are not recognized by the mainstream church or the state.
In addition to his campaign for the Senate, Pacquiao is currently training for the April 9 fight in Las Vegas against Bradley in what he says will be his last bout. Arum said he could lose some other fight sponsors because of the remarks.
Pacquiao has not fought since losing to Floyd Mayweather Jr. last May in the richest fight ever. Pacquiao reportedly made more than $100 million for the fight, and is guaranteed $20 million to fight Bradley.
He has represented the Sarangani province in the Philippines' House of Representatives since May 2010, though has drawn criticism for seldom showing up for legislative duties.
Polls in the Philippines show he is a strong contender for the Senate seat in elections in May, which many believe will eventually lead him to seek the country's presidency.
Al Jazeera with The Associated Press