Diehard fans of Filipino ring icon Manny Pacquiao continue their campaign to boycott Nike after the giant sports brand terminated its contract with Pacman over the latter’s derogatory remarks about same-sex marriage.
“Burn the Nike sole for my soul,” said Pacquiao fan Oriel Balloon, who said he was the one who posted the video in you tube showing a group of people burning Nike products. “Again, we do not hate LGBT people. We hate their agenda. The Nike shoes dropped their support for Manny Pacquiao as endorser. Today, in response, without hatred, we show, we burn these shoes to show that gay marriage is not right,” he said.
A group of Filipino seafarers have also uploaded a video showing them dropping their Nike shoes in thrash can on board a ship.
Amid the uproar, Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches national director Bishop Noel Pantoja also made a call to Filipinos to reject all Nike products.
“I am calling all Filipinos around the world to boycott Nike products for shaming a Filipino hero and an hono¬rable congressman of the Philippines as well as the whole Filipino population around the world—until Nike company apologizes for their hasty, counter factual and wrong decision,” Pantoja said in a press statement.
Reli De Leon, a businessman and Pacquiao fan expressed his all-out support to his hero.
“MP [Manny Pacquiao] made us feels proud so many times. He did what no other Filipino has accomplished. I will continue to support [him]. I personally knew Pacquiao. I am a living witness of how this man has evolved from being a nobody to extraordinary —from being a sinner to a changed son of Jesus.”
“He means nothing to insult or degrade anybody. He just commented on what he has read from the Holy Bible.”
When asked if he’s still going to wear Nike products, De Leon replied: “I will wear what I want. Let’s not be vindictive. Remember, there are Filipinos around the world who are employees of Nike.”
Meanwhile, Pacquiao’s business manager Eric Pineda insisted that Nike did not renew its contract with Pacman in 2013 but instead just forged an agreement with Top Rank Promotion to supply the Filipino boxer with various Nike products every time he fights.
“Manny doesn’t have any contract with Nike since 2013 because I’m the one [who]brought it. They just didn’t renew [their contract with]Manny and Top Rank took over.
As far as I know, there is no money involved [in the new agreement]—only a supply of T-shirts and shoes and other apparels because Manny loves to wear Nike.”
Pineda denied that a negotiation is underway between Pac¬quiao and Under Armour, another giant sports brand endorsed by National Basketball Association superstar Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors.
“All the pictures you’ve seen in Facebook are just created by the fans in support of Manny,” said Pineda. “There is no truth about it as of the meantime and there’s no discussion between us and Under Armour.”
A reliable source from Under Armour Philippines affirmed Pineda’s statement.
“There is no order to get him as endorser from Under Armour global,” the source, which refused to be identified, told The Manila Times in a separate interview.
JOSEF T. RAMOS