Despite making a public apology, Manny Pacquiao is continuing to receive backlash for his recent comments regarding same-sex marriage, as a popular mall in LA recently banned the Filipino boxing great because of his views.
Rick Caruso, the owner of The Grove in LA, an outdoor retail and entertainment complex in Los Angeles, California, recently discussed the move during an interview with TMZ.
"Manny Pacquiao is no longer welcome," Caruso said. "These are statements of hatred. A lot of people from the gay community come to The Grove and they have a right not to feel uncomfortable."
The outspoken Christian boxer made his controversial comments regarding gay couples in February during a television interview which was broadcasted in the Philippines. He said he is against the idea of this issue and even compared those who engage in same-sex relationships to animals.
"Have you seen any animal having male-to-male or female-to-female relations?" Pacquiao said during the interview according to ESPN. "If you have male-to-male or female-to-female [relationships], then people are worse than animals."
After coming under criticism from many on social media, Pacquiao apologized for the harsh nature of his comments in an Instagram post: "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."
However, while the boxer asked forgiveness for his comments, he refused to back down on his stance regarding same-sex marriage.
"I rather obey the Lord's command than obeying the desires of the flesh. Im not condemning anyone, but I'm just telling the truth of what the Bible says. The truth from the Bible is what changed me from my old ways," the boxer posted to Instagram.
He then quoted 1 Corinthians 6:9: "'Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men.' God Bless everyone i love you all."
Despite the athlete's public apology, Nike still ended its partnership with Pacquiao, who had served as its endorser for eight years.
"We find Manny Pacquiao's comments abhorrent," the company said in a press release according to USA Today. "Nike strongly opposes discrimination of any kind and has a long history of supporting and standing up for the rights of the LGBT community."
Basketball Hall of Famer and part-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Magic Johnson, also removed his support from Pacquiao due to his son, E.J. Johnson being publicly gay.
"I won't be watching another one of Manny Pacquiao's fights," he wrote on Twitter late last month.
Speaking to ESPN, Pacquiao's promoter, Bob Arum, the chairman of Top Rank, argued that the athlete did not fully understand the offensive nature of his statements.
"Look, there is a portion in the Bible, both in the Old Testament and New Testament, against homosexuality. Modern thinking is that this is prohibition in an ancient time. Many people feel that way. Other people think differently," Arum said.
He added that Pacquiao is a "politician first and a fighter second," and that his views on gay marriage are directed more toward his home country, where the practice is not legal.
"So the statement that he made, as inarticulate as it was, was basically designed for home consumption. It was said in Tagalog (the Filipino language). He didn't realize - or maybe he did realize and didn't care - that the world is a small place and a statement made in the Philippines goes viral on the internet," Arum added.