The uproar over Under Armour’s chief executive officer Kevin Plank’s pro-Donald Trump remarks continued Thursday.
Ballerina Misty Copeland was the latest sponsored athlete to weigh in on the controversy, writing on her Instagram account: “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 toward our shared goal of trying to motivate ALL people to be their best selves.”
Plank appeared on CNBC’s “Fast Money Halftime Report” Tuesday during which he expressed support for President Trump’s pro-America stance, saying: “To have such a pro-business president is something that is a real asset for the country. People can really grab that opportunity.”
That prompted UA ambassador Steph Curry to tell the San Jose Mercury News on Wednesday: “I agree with that description if you remove the ‘et’ from asset.”
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who has a signature collection with Under Armour, also jumped into the fray, writing on his Instagram account Thursday: “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 UA’s partners and its employees were overshadowed by the comments of its ceo. A good company is not solely defined by its ceo. A good company is not defined by the athlete or celebrity who partners with them. A good company is not a single person. A good company is a team, a group of brothers and sisters committed to working together each and every day to provide for their families and one another and the clients they serve. We don’t partner with a brand casually. 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.”
Under Armour released a statement saying it engages in “policy, not politics,” and has “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.
“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.” It also pointed to how committed it is to domestic manufacturing and said its most recent women’s collection was produced in Baltimore. “We are incredibly proud of this important first step in the evolution of creating more jobs at home,” the statement said.
Other Under Armour ambassadors including Michael Phelps, Jordan Spieth and Lindsey Vonn have not weighed in on the controversy.