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Nike releases statement on Manny Pacquiao, who clarifies his position about gay marriage

On Wednesday the Courage Campaign asked Nike to end their relationship with Manny Pacquiao after the boxer made statements against same-sex marriage. Nike spokeswoman Mary Remuzzi told Outsports:

Any recent remarks made by Manny Pacquiao reflect his personal views. Nike is strongly opposed to discrimination of any kind and has a long history of supporting and standing up for the rights of GLBT individuals.

Pacquiao has also clarified his statements, telling the Los Angeles Times he never condemned gay people:

"What I said is a reporter asked me about gay marriage...I am against gay marriage, but I'm not condemning gays," the boxer said in an interview with The Times. "I have family -- a cousin -- who's gay, and friends, too. I'm just against gay marriage. I don't even want to talk about the issue, but I was asked about it, so I gave my opinion." ...

"My favorite Scripture is 'Love thy neighbor as you love yourself,' " he said. "Obey the Commandments, the Scripture: love everyone, love each other."

The Grove shopping mall in Los Angeles banned Pacquiao from their premises for his alleged statements. However, the author of the original story says Pacquiao did not quote the oft-cited Book of Leviticus and he did not display general animosity toward gay people. Pacquiao said in a statement:

"I didn't say that, that's a lie.… I didn't know that quote from Leviticus because I haven't read the Book of Leviticus yet."

"I'm not against gay people.… I have a relative who is also gay," the boxer insisted. "We can't help it if they were born that way. What I'm critical of are actions that violate the word of God. I only gave out my opinion that same-sex marriage is against the law of God."

Nike has a long history of measuring their athlete partners strictly by their performance. In the past they have forged or continued relationships with Kobe Bryant and Michael Vick.