Here we are again in commonly tread territory where a celebrity makes offensive remarks about a part of the population, apologizes after being caught with their pants down, and then loses a lot of money as a result. Professional boxer Manny Pacquiao is just the latest in a long line of seemingly media savvy famous people who've let stupid statements slip out when everyone was watching. Pacquiao is running for the Senate in his native Philippines and was quoted as saying gay people are "worse than animals" during a television interview. He even went on to defend his views on Facebook. It was only after the fiery media backlash that he issued an apology. In the latest turn of events today, Nike ended their long-standing contract with the boxer out of outrage over his discriminatory views and comments. I applaud Nike in their decision to sever ties with Pacquiao. Here's why:
As a politician, he has as much couth as Donald Trump.
Pacquiao was always the nice guy. We rooted for him in that joke of a match against Floyd Mayweather. He was humble, talented, and rarely exhibited the bravado of many top boxers. But his public comments about gays show that he's not the sensitive guy we thought he was. And the fact that he didn't back down until he got in trouble says more about him than anything else in his career.
Nike has a long history of holding their athletes to high standards.
After Lance Armstrong's disappointing doping scandal, Nike terminated its 9-year relationship with The Livestrong Foundation. Though we all know money is at the heart of these decisions as bad press can negatively impact sales, Nike expects the recipients of its multi-million dollar contracts to uphold its company values. There's zero tolerance for dishonesty and discrimination. It's refreshing to see a HUGE company follow a strong moral compass.
Apology or no apology, this was no accident.
No Freudian slip here, folks. Manny Pacquiao has lived his life in front of the media and probably has more media training under his belt than Beyoncé. You can't possibly expect me to believe that he didn't know what he was saying (as evidenced by his original defense of his comments). And you can't possibly expect me to believe his apology. He doesn't just need his precious endorsements taken away. He needs to be educated and enlightened.
He values profit over principle.
Several reports claim that Pacquiao's team was in talks with Nike all morning in an attempt to salvage his contract. But Nike didn't budge. Sorry, Manny. You can't insult an entire population of people, have it immortalized on video, and then think that a simple apology can right all the wrongs. These are your beliefs, and though ignorant, you are entitled to them. You can't backpedal because you're viewed unfavorably. In the age of screenshots and shareable articles, every part of this saga is out there for us all to review. Welcome to politics, buddy.
The world of sports has no more room for bigotry.
The wide world of sports is one of those seemingly impenetrable alpha male fortresses when it comes to views on homosexuality. But with more and more athletes coming out, there's more pressure to throw dated, homophobic, ignorant views to the wayside. The last thing that any athletic organization needs right now is an athlete who seems intent on sending this progress backward.
People make mistakes. This is true. But Pacquiao's comments were so despicable and thoughtless that he can't simply be forgiven because he's been so nice the rest of the time. As an internationally known athlete and, now, politician, he has a responsibility to treat all people fairly and with kindness. If he can't do that, he has no place in office or in the ring.