Sunderland people have hit out against boxing legend Manny Pacquiao’s extreme homophobic views.
Professional boxer Pacquiao, who is gearing up for his final bout in April, sparked a storm of controversy on Tuesday after suggesting in a television interview that same-sex couples are “worse than animals”.
The 37-year-old, who has been world champion across eight different weight categories, made the comments on TV5, while promoting his current campaign to be elected to the Senate in his native Philippines.
On Wednesday, Pacquiao’s major sponsor, Nike, dropped the sportsman as a result of his controversial beliefs which he puts down to teachings in the Bible.
SR News hit the streets of Sunderland to ask people what they thought about the boxer’s comments.
Aaron/Lucy Phurr. 19, Springwell
Occupation: Barman/Drag Queen
“It’s vile. There are thousands of people in the sport nowadays who are still in the closet. It’s like Kelly Maloney [the now transgender boxing promoter].
“That just goes to show how close you can be to another gay person, another transgender person in this industry.”
Demi Storey, 22, Town End
“I think he should be banned for a while, definitely.
“It’s 2016 now, the fact people still have those views, it’s disgusting. A lot of my friends are gay and attitudes like that make me sick.”
Carrie Cummings, 24, Peterlee
Occupation: Cashier, William Hill
“I wouldn’t watch him.
“I don’t know whether people will not bet on him, but I think people will be less willing to watch him.”
Dragostin Stoev, 23, Bulgaria
“This is not right, especially in the 21st century.
“Should people stop watching him? It depends on people but yeah. This is not normal behaviour.”
“It’s like Tyson Fury again. You can say freedom of speech, but he’s a role model at the end of the day.
“So you can’t go out saying those sorts of things. There are probably gay boxers out there and he’s gone and said that. It will make people even more scared to come out.”
“He’s like a god in his country so thinks he can say what he wants, I think.
“You can take his sponsors away but he can say what he wants. I would watch him, but I wouldn’t support him anymore.”
What do you think of the Paquiao row? Send us your views to @SRNewsNow.