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article imageOp-Ed: Nike may have dropped Pacquiao as endorser too soon

By Leo Reyes     Feb 17, 2016 in Sports
Famous Nike Sportswear may have dropped sports' second highest-paid athlete as endorser too soon following the raging controversy between Manny Pacquiao and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community over same sex marriage.
"Nike terminated an endorsement agreement with Manny Pacquiao after the Filipino boxer made derogatory comments against homosexuals. The sportswear maker said in a statement that it found Pacquiao’s comments 'abhorrent' and that it no longer has a relationship with the fighter," The Wall Street Journal writes.
The WSJ news as well as other similar reports from mainstream media came after Pacquiao made statements about same sex marriage in a TV interview early in the week.
In the controversial statement, Pacquiao said even animals do not engage in same sex (sexual) relationship. But he later clarified that his stand on the issue is based on what he read in the Bible.
"It’s only common sense. Would you see any species of animals who engage in male to male, female to female [sexual] relations? Animals, then, are better than humans [in that sense]. They know how to distinguish males from females," said Pacquiao in an analogy.
"If people then engage in male to male, female to female relations, then they are worse than animals," he added.
If indeed Nike dropped Pacquiao based on an issue that is still being debated in order to give both parties more time to qualify their statements, it may be too early for Nike to decide on the raging controversy and to say that Pacquiao is wrong and the LGBT community is right as they defend their stand on the issue.
Pacquiao has been a longtime product endorser of Nike and was instrumental in boosting Nike's revenue worldwide.
To drop him as Nike's endorser simply because he said something that is not pleasing to the LBGT community based on his religious belief seems inappropriate for someone who has been known worldwide as a good role model.
As a business concern Nike has every right to terminate its endorsement contact with Pacquiao on the basis of poor performance as a boxer because his popularity dwindles with his loss or series of losses as what happened when he lost to Timothy Bradley and later to Juan Manuel Marquez.
Endorsers walked away from Pacquiao with those two straight losses but when he regained his popularity with three straight wins against Brandon Rios, Timothy Bradley and Chris Algieri, many of his endorsers came back including Nike.
This seems to suggest that dropping an endorser isn't solely based on his religious belief but more so on his popularity and good image as a role model.
While Nike may have specific rules that cover product endorsers, it cannot be denied that Pacquiao had followed those rules otherwise he won't last a year with Nike as an effective product endorser.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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