Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank’s recent comments supporting Donald Trump’s business strategy have landed him in hot water with some of his company’s most prominent figures.
NBA star Stephen Curry spoke about the issue in an interview with the Mercury News, while wrestler and actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and ballerina Misty Copeland took to social media to express their views.
While a guest on CNBC’s “Fast Money Halftime Report” Tuesday, Plank called Trump “highly passionate” and said he could be a “real asset for the country.”
Curry responded to the latter comment in a tongue-in-cheek fashion, saying he agreed with Plank’s assessment “if you remove the ‘et’ from asset.”
Johnson and Copeland were much more direct in addressing Plank’s comments, as both posted lengthy Instagram captions sharing their thoughts.
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.
“I strongly disagree with Kevin Plank’s recent comments in support of Trump as recently reported,” Copeland wrote. “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.”
Johnson was critical of Plank as well, calling the words of the Under Armour CEO “divisive and lacking in perspective.” However, he also affirmed his commitment to the company and its employees.
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. Great leaders inspire and galvanize the masses during turbulent times, they don’t cause people to divide and disband. My responsibility here is not only to the global audience we serve, but also to the thousands of workers who pour blood, sweat, and tears into making Under Armour strong. A diverse group of hardworking men and women who possess integrity, respect and compassion for one another and the world they live in. Debate is healthy. But in a time of widespread disagreement, so is loyalty. I feel an obligation to stand with this diverse team, the American and global workers, who are the beating heart and soul of Under Armour and the reason I chose to partner with them. My commitment is as real as my sweat and callouses that thicken daily. #CommittedToThePeople
“Debate is healthy. But in a time of widespread disagreement, so is loyalty,” Johnson wrote. “I feel an obligation to stand with this diverse team, the American and global workers, who are the beating heart and soul of Under Armour and the reason I chose to partner with them.”
Curry told the Mercury News that any relationship Plank has with the president is not a big deal to him, but he did say he would leave Under Armour if he ever felt a shift in the company’s identity.
“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,” Curry said. “So that’s a decision I will make every single day when I wake up.”