Thirty-seven year-old Filipino, eight-time world champion professional boxer Manny Pacquiao crossed the line with derogatory remarks when discussing same-sex marriage and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) rights last Wednesday in an interview with a Filipino TV station. This controversy has taken over the media, and gay rights campaigners have voiced anger and wrath. Pacquiao has apologized after sparking disgraceful comments towards the gay community, but refuses to accept that he is morally wrong.
“What I did wrong was just comparing the people to animals, but you know what I am telling the truth,” Pacquiao told news reporters.
Less than 24 hours after the comments, the Filipino boxer lost his sponsorship deal with Nike. Nike was Pacquiao’s major global sponsorship throughout the prime of his career, and Nike put a halt to their partnership in the blink of an eye after hearing what Pacquiao said, calling his comments “abhorrent.” Unfortunately, Pacquiao’s Philippine companies who sponsor him did not take the same approach that Nike did and will continue to sponsor him. Nor did they express any public concern on the cruel and unusual comments he made this week.
“If men mate with men and women mate with women, they are worse than animals,” Pacquiao said.
Pacquiao didn’t stop there though. After he mentioned how gay people are worse than animals, he added more fuel to the fire on his Instagram account the following day. It was an even more provocative quote from the Bible than his first one was on the Filipino station.
“If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads,” Pacquiao posted.
Shortly after Pacquiao posted this onto his Instagram account, he regretted it and tried to be discrete by deleting the post before enough people could snap screenshots of it to hold against him. Having as many followers on social media as Pacquiao, combined with the world we live in today, there was slim to no chance of him sneaking away without that post being screen shot multiple times. The Filipino media outlet ABS-CBN took screenshots of it before he removed it and let it be known.
There is no place anywhere in today’s society for the comments Pacquiao uttered last week. However, there is no room for punishment for the long-time world champion boxer as he is speaking straight from his religious views and is actually retiring from the sport after his April 9 bout against Timothy Bradley. Though Pacquiao won’t be technically punished for his actions, his name and reputation is permanently stained. It’s a disgrace for Pacquiao that he tarnished his legacy like this, a guy who had such a long, successful career with a squeaky clean resume. It’s an absolute shame for the sport of boxing and one of their all time greats to go out like this.