Nike frowns on discrimination, but doesn't see its own

By Alec Rooney

Giant corporations like Nike can campaign all they want for homosexual frolicking and “marriage,” but can they please stop saying they are doing this in the name of “diversity” and opposition to “discrimination of any kind”?

Because this week, Nike flatly rejected a famous spokesman’s diversity and committed discrimination of the most blind and ignorant kind — the kind that doesn’t even know it’s being discriminatory.

Filipino star boxer and politician Manny Pacquiao recently appeared in a video interview on TV5, a network in the Philippines, and commented on homosexual marriage. 

Filipino boxer and politician Manny Pacquiao

Filipino boxer and politician Manny Pacquiao

He said: “It’s common sense. Do you see animals mating with the same sex? 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.”

Pacquiao is a politician, with an eye on running for president of the Philippines some day, and in a strongly Catholic and traditional place like his homeland his statement probably went right along with the sentiments of the majority of voters.

But Nike, not surprisingly, went into full drama-queen mode:

“We find Manny Pacquiao’s comments abhorrent,” the company said in a press release on Wednesday. “Nike strongly opposes discrimination of any kind 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.”

No longer have a relationship! That sounds pretty final. It’s not that they’re negotiating with Pacquiao, or asking him to disavow his remarks, or docking his pay … they don’t even have a relationship with him anymore. He is dead to them!

But note the phrase the press release unwittingly used: Nike strongly opposes discrimination of any kind.

Any kind.

Including the kind where you banish a guy from your presence because he stated a moral conviction that is widely held in his own, democratic country? On a domestic TV network?

It seems not. It seems Nike is actually very much okay with that kind of discrimination.

“Embracing diversity” has become one of the more tiresome phrases of the last few decades. All us bad, closed-minded white Christians know what it means, too. It means “celebrating all of the wonderful multi-hued tapestry of humankind — except you.”

That’s OK — we don’t need around-the clock celebrating, or any, really, except with God and friends and family. Only the pop philosophers at Nike need to recognize that denouncing discrimination cuts both ways. In calling out someone else for being what you see as discriminatory, are you not …discriminating? Aren’t you pretending to know their whole history, their whole culture, all their rationales for everything, and flatly rejecting it all?

Isn’t what Nike did to Manny Pacquiao exactly the same as condemning a Hindu’s reverence for a cow, sneering at a Muslim’s aversion to pork … or dismissing the home altars found in many Filipino Christian homes, with their photos of departed relatives, as fairy-tale nonsense?

Aren’t they just judging an accomplished man as they view him through their own clouded, highly distorted little lens?

If the Nike people had just said, “A bunch of us here at Nike are gay, or don’t agree with Pacquiao’s words, so he’s history,” that would be more acceptable than their dishonest effort to condemn him for the sin of discrimination, a sin only they are allowed to define — and to commit.


Alec Rooney serves as communications director for the Christian Action Network. He is a longtime journalist, with experience as a writer and editor at five daily newspapers over 25 years. An award-winning print copy editor and copy desk chief, he also works as a freelance academic book editor. He is a 1986 graduate of the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., and holds an M.A. in English from the University of Kentucky.

Published on by Admin.