UPDATE: Under Armour Ambassadors Misty Copeland, Steph Curry Respond To CEO’s Trump Support
Update: On her Instagram page, Copeland finally spoke out about Kevin Plank’s statements:
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I have always appreciated the great support and platform that Under Armour has given me to represent my community, gender, and career on the world stage. However, I strongly disagree with Kevin Plank's recent comments in support of Trump as recently reported. Those of you who have supported and followed my career know that the one topic I've never backed away from speaking openly about is the importance of diversity and inclusion. It is imperative to me that my partners and sponsors share this belief. I have spoken at length with Kevin privately about the matter, but as someone who takes my responsibility as a role model very seriously, it is important to me that he, and UA, take public action to clearly communicate and reflect our common values in order for us to effectively continue to work towards our shared goal of trying to motivate ALL people to be their best selves.
In an interview with CNBC’s Fast Money Halftime Report on Tuesday, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank shared his excitement over having Donald Trump in the White House. Plank was asked about him due to the fact that he’s one of the many business leaders taking part in Trump’s Manufacturing Jobs Initiative.
“To have such a pro-business president is something that is a real asset for the country,” he said. “People can really grab that opportunity.”
“He wants to build things. He wants to make bold decisions and be really decisive,” Plank added. “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.”
So Trump is #bae for Kevin Plank.
Despite those being his comments though, the athletes who have deals with his company are having to answer for them.
I was at a very nice Under Armour event Tuesday evening before most caught wind of Plank’s comments. The soiree was meant to celebrate the company’s new line inspired by Misty Copeland, and she was present to speak on her partnership with the brand. She is now being asked by fans to part ways with the company or at least address the controversy, but there has been no response from the ballerina as of yet.
As for Steph Curry, he has decided to speak openly about the situation.
When asked about the statements on Wednesday by The Mercury News, particularly the idea of Trump being an asset, Curry said, “I agree with that description if you remove the ‘et’ from asset.”
The Golden State Warriors star and 2015 unanimously voted NBA league MVP said when he heard about Plank’s comments he was shocked. The day the CEO’s praise of Trump spread like wildfire, he hopped on the phone with Plank and the company as a whole to ensure that he had a clear understanding of what they stand for. Plank reportedly told him that his support was only in reference to Trump’s business initiatives, not anything that has to do with his more controversial policies and stances.
“I spent all day yesterday on the phone with countless people at Under Armour, countless people in Kevin Plank’s camp, my team, trying to understand what was going on and where everybody stood on the issue,” Curry told the publication. “Based off the release that KP sent out this morning, and what he told me last night, that’s the Under Armour that I know. That’s the brand I know he’s built and one that, as of Wednesday afternoon, is something that I’m standing on.”
The statement Curry is referring to is one the company put out yesterday to clarify Plank’s thoughts on the president:
At Under Armour, our culture has always been about optimism, teamwork, and unity. We have engaged with both the prior and the current administrations in advocating on business issues that we believe are in the best interests of our consumers, teammates, and shareholders. Kevin Plank was recently invited at the request of the President of the United States, to join the American Manufacturing Council as part of a distinguished group of business leaders. He joined CEOs from companies such as Dow Chemical, Dell, Ford, GE, and Tesla, among others to begin an important dialogue around creating jobs in America. We believe it is important for Under Armour to be a part of that discussion.
We have always been committed to developing innovative ways to support and invest in American jobs and manufacturing. For years, Under Armour has had a long-term strategy for domestic manufacturing and we recently launched our first women’s collection made in our hometown of Baltimore, MD. We are incredibly proud of this important first step in the evolution of creating more jobs at home.
We engage in policy, not politics. We believe in advocating for fair trade, an inclusive immigration policy that welcomes the best and the brightest and those seeking opportunity in the great tradition of our country, and tax reform that drives hiring to help create new jobs globally, across America and in Baltimore.
We have teammates from different religions, races, nationalities, genders, and sexual orientations; different ages, life experiences, and opinions. This is the core of our company. At Under Armour, our diversity is our strength, and we will continue to advocate for policies that Protect Our House, our business, our team, and our community.
Curry said that while Plank’s comments weren’t his cup of tea, he would be more concerned if the company began to stand for what Trump stands for. As of now, he doesn’t see that happening.
“It’s a fine line but it’s about how we’re operating, how inclusive we are, what we stand for,” he said. “He’s the President. There are going to be people that are tied to them. But are we promoting change? Are we doing things that are going to look out for everybody? And not being so self-serving that it’s only about making money, selling shoes, doing this and that. That’s not the priority. It’s about changing lives. I think we can continue to do that.”
But Curry did say that should the company take a turn that he doesn’t feel comfortable with, he would be sure to cut ties before compromising his values.
“If there is a situation where I can look at myself in the mirror and say they don’t have my best intentions, they don’t have the right attitude about taking care of people,” he said. “If I can say the leadership is not in line with my core values, then there is no amount of money, there is no platform I wouldn’t jump off if it wasn’t in line with who I am. So that’s a decision I will make every single day when I wake up. If something is not in line with what I’m about, then, yeah, I definitely need to take a stance in that respect.”
Images via Splash and WENN