Kevin Plank and Under Armour have received a few punches to the gut in the past few days in response to the founder, chairman and CEO’s comments last week in a television interview where he appeared to support President Trump as a “pro business president” which he saw as an “asset for the country.”
Now, after many athletes, including those signed by Under Armour, have distanced themselves from Plank’s statements, he seems to be backpedaling by running a letter to the city of Baltimore to clarify his position and step away from his apparent praise of the president.
Over the last week, Dwayne Johnson tweeted that Plank’s statements did not correlate with his own beliefs, and dancer Misty Copeland echoed those statements on Instagram. NBA star Stephen Curry took it a step further, telling the San Jose Mercury News that he would support Plank’s remarks if you remove “the ET from asset”.
The Baltimore Sun ran the full-page letter by Plank in today’s paper as an advertisement. In it, Plank addresses his hometown and clarifies his remarks, though he makes no mention of Trump.
"In a business television interview last week, I answered a question with a choice of words that did not accurately reflect my intent. I want to clarify for our hometown exactly the values for which Under Armour and I stand," wrote Plank.
He then stated that the city the company calls home stands for entrepreneurship, job creation and opportunity, and also that the company represents the city through its values, which seem to go against some of Trump’s most staunch positions.
- We stand firmly for equal rights. Through our investment, hiring and in everything we do, we expect to be leaders in the advancement of all forms of diversity and gender equality.
- We believe that immigration is a source of strength, diversity and innovation for global companies based in America like Under Armour. And I personally believe that immigration is the foundation of our country’s exceptionalism.
- Once again, Under Armour stands for job creation. To that end, we believe in growing American manufacturing capability. We think building should focus on much-needed education, transportation, technology and infrastructure investment in cities like Baltimore.
Plank went on to write that the company is publicly opposed to the travel ban the president is trying to implement, and that they will take a stand when policy conflicts with human rights.
This letter comes at a time when not only is Plank taking a beating on social media, but also when the company’s stock was being downgraded by some analysts and initial reaction to Plank’s remarks resulted in a dip in the stock price. No word whether the letter has yet given the company and stock a boost.