Nike benefits from timing with release of Manny Pacquiao
Super multinational corporation Nike (you may have heard of it) terminated its contract with Manny Pacquiao following some truly terrible comments about homosexuals made by the boxing great. In a television interview, the Philippine boxer/politician stated that homosexuals were “worse than animals” because, in his mind, at least animals mated with members of the opposite sex. Nike was quick to react, ending their relationship with Pac-Man and calling his comments “abhorrent.” To be fair, there is little else that Nike could do in this situation due to how inflammatory Pacquiao’s comments were. Plus, their quick response to the situation and following comments in defense of the LGBT community is something to be applauded. That being said, its hard not to see how Nike benefited from the timing of these comments, making their decision much easier.
Throughout his career, but particularly when he started running for office in his home country, Manny Pacquiao has been an open opponent of the LGBT community, regardless of the comments he has made otherwise. Up until this point, however, Manny has been a staple of the boxing scene, and one of the most popular fighters since the heyday of boxing. For years, boxing fans around the world longed for the eventual clash between Pac-Man and the undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr. Over the course of these years, Manny had made various comments against homosexuals and gay marriage, even if they weren’t as extreme as the ones he made recently. However, many chose to look past these comments, supporting Pacquiao as the savior destined to defeat the largely disliked Mayweather when they eventually met in the ring.
It took a long time, but boxing fans eventually got their wish. Billed as “The Fight of the Century,” Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather finally fought in May of 2015. To be honest, the fight wasn’t all that close, contrary to what blind Floyd haters would like to say (and I’m a Floyd hater). Floyd dominated the fight and defeated Manny rather easily, ending the hope that many had in Manny and making a rematch highly unlikely. With this fight in the books, people started to forget about Manny. What else was there to look forward to with him, particularly after he looked outclassed?
This was the stage that was set when Manny Pacquiao made his most recent, and worst, homophobic remarks this week. I’m going to give Nike the benefit of the doubt and assume that they would’ve dumped Manny even if these comments came at the height of his popularity. Needless to say, I’m sure that the execs in Nike-land were thrilled that they could pull the trigger on a guy who seemed irrelevant on the sports stage from this point forward. Although the timing may have been beneficial, Nike absolutely did the right thing here. Their quick response shows a level of progress in our society that is often lost on companies pursuing the next big paycheck. In the end, all of this should be commended, and Pacquiao deserves to be the one condemned.