Openly gay boxer Orlando Cruz invited Manny Pacquiao to meet with him after claiming gay people are “worse than animals”.
Orlando Cruz – a Puerto Rican fighter who came out in 2012- has labelled Manny Pacquiao’s recent homophobic outburst as “irresponsible.”
“For (Pacquiao) to say that homosexuals are like animals is very irresponsible,” he said.
“I’m a homosexual and you shouldn’t judge me for my lifestyle.”
Eight-time world boxing champion Pacquiao sparked a flurry of criticism in the Philippines after describing gay couples as “worse than animals”.
“It’s common sense. Do you see animals mating with the same sex?” Pacquiao told local broadcaster TV5.
“Animals are better because they can distinguish male from female.
“If men mate with men and women mate with women they are worse than animals.”
Following public backlash, Pacquiao quickly apologised – saying he was not condemning gays, but simply following the Bible’s teachings.
Cruz countered Pacquiao’s excuse, by quoting the popular verse: “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”
“God asks us to love one another unconditionally.”
The Latin American fighter also extended an invitation to meet with Pacquiao.
“I invite you to meet with me to get to know me as a human being first and I guarantee you that you will think differently,” he said.
“Maybe afterwards we can do a sparring session. Take care and I will be praying for you and your family.”
Sportswear giant Nike were quick to disassociate themselves from the boxer – dropping its ten-year sponsorship of the champion.
Pacquiao – who recently reinvented himself as a conservative politician in the Philippines – had been a Nike athlete since 2006.
“We find Manny Pacquiao’s comments abhorrent,” a Nike statement released on Wednesday read.
“Nike strongly opposes discrimination of any kinds 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.”