Looks like Under Armour’s tough week is just getting tougher.
More and more athletes on the Baltimore company’s roster spoke critically on Thursday of CEO Kevin Plank’s recent comments complimenting the Trump administration. In the past 24 hours, Stephen Curry, Misty Copeland and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson have all issued statements distancing themselves from the CEO’s comments.
“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,” said Copeland in a Facebook post Thursday. “However, I strongly disagree with Kevin Plank’s recent comments in support of Trump as recently reported.”
The first African-American woman to be principal ballerina with the American Ballet Theater, Copeland said she has never backed away from openly speaking about the importance of diversity and inclusion and it’s important that her sponsors share that 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.”
Around the same time, Johnson put out a statement on his social media accounts calling Plank’s comments “divisive.”
“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. His words were divisive and lacking in perspective. Inadvertently creating a situation where the personal political opinions of Under Armour’s partners and its employees were overshadowed by the comments of its CEO,” Johnson said. “I partner with brands I trust and with people who share my same values. That means a commitment to diversity, inclusion, community, open-mindedness and some serious hard work. But it doesn’t mean that I or my team will always agree with the opinion of everyone who works there, including its executives.”
It’s been a rough few days for Plank. The company’s fourth-quarter results were poor, its CFO quit and its bonds were downgraded. Then, after he told CNBC’s “Fast Money Halftime Report” that President Trump “is a real asset for the country,” Under Armour’s prize endorsement asset, Stephen Curry, came out against that assessment of Trump.
“I agree with that description,” Curry told Mercury News, “if you remove the ‘et’ from asset.”
The NBA MVP and face of Under Armour’s basketball shoe went on to say that he has spoken with Plank regarding his comments, saying he spent “all day” on the phone with the company. Curry has an endorsement deal with Under Armour through 2024.
While Curry is standing with Under Armour, he is putting the company on notice.
“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.”