MURRELL COLUMN: Pacquiao loses fight in religious warfare

Published 8:50 pm Thursday, February 18, 2016

If Nike praises a God (or any god), Manny Pacquiao worships a different one.

But if Pacquiao’s deity is one that puts animals above same-sex couples, he’s rightfully apologized for it.

The boxer said earlier this week on a Filipino television station, according to media reports: “Have you seen any animal having male-to-male or female-to-female relations? If you have male-to-male or female-to-female [relationships], then people are worse than animals.”

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Pacquiao attempted to back up his statement with animal science, but Nike — and millions of individuals, one would imagine — weren’t buying it. Now, the shoe giant is no longer buying endorsement space for the Filipino congressman, no more than the clothes for the fight Pacquiao says he’ll wear for his April 9 fight against Timothy Bradley.

The reports also cited a Nike statement that read in part: “We find Manny 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.”

Pacquiao has converted to Christianity in recent years, but even his statement on same-sex relationships, which are condemned in the Bible, was the result of a hasty tongue.

It also has kindled new fire in the war between religion and commerce, except Pacquiao misrepresented religion and lost a battle.

A champion of the obvious will reiterate that Nike, like many commercial giants, are quicker to make a stand for people across all social classes than adopt a religion. No, being named after the ancient Greek goddess of victory does not constitute such adoption because the goddess — with a little “g” — is ancient.

God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, Christianity teaches. Corporations might respect that — and I personally believe it — but they couldn’t care less.

Yet, who would consciously wonder about Nike’s social stance had Pacquiao’s comments not been made? In the Bible Belt, many would.

One problem with his comments is that humans are much smarter than animals. Therefore, we get to choose, whether is because of our faith, knowledge or both.

Another problem: All have sinned and fallen short of the glory … if you believe, of course. But, hey, I’m no more righteous than my fellow man.

There’s no word yet on whether the Hennessy whiskey company decried Pacquiao’s comments or will use him as a spokesman again. After all, he’s already chased his “wild rabbit”.

Good for him that he’s not a wild rabbit, or any animal.

I.C. Murrell can be reached at 721-2435 or On Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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