New Delhi: Ace Philippines boxer Manny Pacquiao on Thursday said that he respects world`s largest sportswear maker Nike's decision to end ties after the pugilist described gays as "worse than animals”.
However, the Filipino boxing stood pat on his opposition to same-sex marriage and added he's happy that "a lot of people were alarmed by the truth."
Earlier, the American apparel giant on Wednesday stated that it will no longer have any business dealings with the Filipino boxing champion, adding that it found his comments "abhorrent." Nike says it strongly opposes any kind of discrimination.
According to few media reports, Pacquiao reacted after Nike's decision by saying "Whatever decision Nike makes is its decision and I respect that and its sponsorship of me now only involves my clothes for my fight.”
Nike`s decision came a day after an online petition was launched urging the company to stop Pacquiao endorsing its products. The petition on change.org has garnered more than 3,000 signatures so far.
Pacquiao, revered in the Philippines for winning world boxing titles in eight different weight classes during his 20-year career, suddenly fell from grace after a 30-second interview on local television about same-sex marriage, which he opposes.
"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," Pacquiao told TV5 on Monday.
"Now if men are mating with men and women with women, then they are worse than animals," he said.
The 37-year old congressman, among those favoured to win a Senate seat at the May elections based on independent pollsters` surveys, apologised on Tuesday.
(With Agency inputs)