Some of Under Armour’s sponsored athletes are outraged at the CEO’s political statements.
Select Under Armour brand ambassadors, including professional ballet dancer Misty Copeland, wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry have expressed disappointment over CEO Kevin Plank’s pro-Trump comments, Reuters reported.
“To have such a pro-business president is something that is a real asset for the country. People can really grab that opportunity,” Plank said in a CNBC interview on Tuesday. “He wants to build things he wants to make bold decisions and be really decisive. I’m a big fan of people that operate in the world of publish and iterate versus think, think, think, think, think. So there’s a lot that I respect there.”
Immediately following the interview, the three sponsored athletes turned to interviews and social media to clarify that their views did not associate with those of Plank.
“I agree with that description [of “asset” made by Plank], if you remove the ‘et’,” said Curry in an interview with The San Jose Mercury News Wednesday.
Both Copeland and Johnson also aired their disappointment on social media.
“I appreciate and welcome the feedback from people who disagree (and agree) with Kevin Plank’s words on CNBC, but these are neither my words, nor my beliefs,” Johnson said in an Instagram post on Thursday. “His words were divisive and lacking in perspective.”
Copeland said, also in an Instagram post, “I have always appreciated this great support and platform that Under Armour has given me to represent my community, gender and career on the world stage,” Copeland said. “However, I strongly disagree with Kevin Plank’s recent comments in support of Trump as recently reported.”
Under Armour followed up with a statement that said Plank’s comments were highlighting Trump’s business policies and not his own views.
“We engage in policy, not politics,” Under Armour said, adding that, “Under Armour and Kevin Plank are for job creation and American manufacturing capability. We believe building should be focused on much needed education, transportation, technology and urban infrastructure investment. We are against a travel ban and believe that immigration is a source of strength, diversity and innovation for global companies based in America like Under Armour.”
Under Armour’s recent political conflict follows the retail’s industry’s divide over President Trump. In January, several top brands, including Nike, spoke out against America’s new leader. Last month, Trump also announced his Manufacturing Jobs Initiative, which included the appointment of Under Armour’s CEO as an advisor. It is unclear how the company will support Trump over the next year as it continues to make strides in the “Made in USA” manufacturing movement.