"I won't be watching another one of Manny Pacquiao's fights," Magic Earvin Johnson wrote on Twitter Wednesday. His drop of support is stilling getting attention, due to his son, E.J. Johnson being publicly gay and due to fans reminding the basketball star he hasn't exactly had a clean slate himself in life. Johnson responded to the boxer's comments last week comparing gay marriage to animals. Pacquiao, who said he stands by his Biblical-based "Law of God" perspective, lost the backing of Nike in the furor over his controversial LGBT comments. Pacquiao eventually issued an apology, saying he was "humbling himself before others and God" regarding his mistake.
Basketball Hall of Famer and part-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers' Johnson on Twitter applauded $31 billion international sporting goods corporation Nike for cutting ties and terminating the company's contract with the famous boxer after what Johnson referenced as "derogatory statements" that Pacquiao's made about "gay people [being] worse than animals."
"We find Manny Pacquiao's comments abhorrent," Nike said, according to TMZ. "Nike strongly opposes discrimination of any kind and has a long history of supporting and standing up for the rights of the LGBT community. We no longer have a relationship with Manny Pacquiao."
Shortly after Pacquiao's stance on gay marriage spread around the Internet, an online petition was run to "End Sponsorship of Homophobic Boxer Manny Pacquiao," according to Boxing Insider.
Part of the 'NIKE: SAY NO to HATE SPEECH" petition's messaging, reportedly issued by Gay Marriage USA, included: "Boxer Manny Pacquiao (based in LA) has been sponsored by Nike for a number of years. In 2012 Forbes named him the 4th most influential sports star in the world. Following Obama's recent announcement of support for marriage equality, Pacquiao quoted bible excerpts to state that homosexuals should be put to death: "If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads." Nike is a multi-billion dollar industry and LGBT people contribute billions to this company. It is completely unacceptable that such a high-profile company should be sponsoring a boxer who is encouraging violence towards LGBT people. Tell Nike to drop its sponsorship!"
On Wednesday, Johnson also tweeted: "Fans of all walks of life, including gay fans, supported May/Pac fight, putting $100M in his pocket. I guess to him their money is still green."
Filipino boxing superstar Pacquiao issued an apology on Instagram: "I'm sorry for hurting people by comparing homosexuals to animals. Please forgive me for those I've hurt. I still stand on my belief that I'm against same sex marriage because of what the Bible says, but I'm not condemning LGBT. I love you all with the love of the Lord. God Bless you all and I'm praying for you."
Johnson's remarks drew some strong statements of their own from his followers, who brought up the concept of hypocrisy. One asked: "Are you done with Manny or disappointed in him? Just think how many people supported you when you made a mistake."
Reem Malka tweeted back to Johnson: "So you'll still watch May? It's cool to beat the mother of your child but not verbally attack the gay community??"
Manny Pacquiao's next opponent is Timothy Bradley, who he faces for the third time in Las Vegas on April 9.