Under Armour founder Kevin Plank used his hometown paper, the Baltimore Sun, on Wednesday to personally address the controversy that has surrounded him since his remarks last week that called President Trump’s pro-business bent “a real asset for the country.”
In an open letter in the newspaper, Plank said his words during the CNBC interview “did not accurately reflect my intent” and he wanted to “clarify to our hometown exactly the values for which Under Armour and I stand.”
This story first appeared in the February 16, 2017 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The letter said his company stands “firmly for equal rights,” believes “that immigration is a source of strength, diversity and innovation for global companies based in America,” and reiterated that Under Armour “stands for job creation.”
He said the company is “publicly opposing the travel ban,” and would take public positions whenever policies conflict with human rights.
He then pointed to moves that Under Armour has already made including partnering with the Baltimore Ravens and Living Classrooms to open the UA House at Fayette, a community center to promote entrepreneurship, as well as its manufacturing center and innovation lab in Port Covington.
The letter said Under Armour’s mission is “to make athletes better through passion, design and the relentless pursuit of innovation.” And while it will continue to “engage with government to protect our teammates…I can promise you that we will never compromise those values. We will continue to stand for equality, diversity and opportunity for all. In a time of division, we aspire to be a force of unity, growth and optimism for our city and our country. I hope we will always make Baltimore proud.”
The backlash heated up last week when some of Under Armour’s high-profile athletes including Steph Curry and Misty Copeland spoke out against Plank’s comments and the company has been responding ever since.