Nike Drops Boxer Manny Pacquiao After Controversial Anti-Gay Remarks

Nike said Wednesday it had cut ties with Manny Pacquiao after the Filipino boxer and politician drew ire for calling people in homosexual relationships "worse than animals."

Pacquiao, a member of the Philippines house of representatives, made the comments during a television interview amid a run for a senate seat. The former world champion boxer told local station TV5 that "man is worse than animals" because animals "know how to distinguish male from female."

In a statement, Nike called Pacquiao's comments "abhorrent."

"Nike strongly opposes discrimination of any kind and has a long history of supporting and standing up for the rights of the LGBT community," the company said.

Pacquiao apologized for the statement on Tuesday. In a tweet, he said he was "sorry for hurting people by comparing homosexuals to animals."

Pacquiao is one of the most recognizable faces in contemporary boxing. Last year, he lost to Floyd Mayweather in the so-called "fight of the century," which shattered records with more than $400 million in pay-per-view revenue.

Pacquiao's representatives did not immediately respond to CNBC's requests for comment.

— CNBC's Jessica Golden contributed to this report.