*CEO of Baltimore-based sports apparel company Under Armour, is still in damage control mode after calling President Trump “an asset to the country” during a television interview.
As previously reported, Kevin Plank’s praise of Trump on CNBC last week caused the company’s biggest endorsers, NBA star Stephen Curry, actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and ballerina Misty Copeland, to go public with their discomfort.
In an open letter to Baltimore published as a full-page advertisement in The Baltimore Sun, Plank wrote that he wanted to clarify what values he and his company stand for.
“In a business television interview last week, I answered a question with a choice of words that did not accurately reflect my intent,” he wrote referring to the interview on CNBC on Feb. 7.
The company stands for equal rights and job creation and believes “immigration is a source of strength, diversity and innovation for global companies based in America,” Plank wrote. Also, the company opposes the president’s travel ban.
“With an anticipated new executive order on immigration set to come out, we will join a coalition of companies in opposition to any new actions that negatively impact our team, their families or our community,” he said.
Dwayne Johnson sent out a statement on social media last Thursday saying Plank’s words “were divisive and lacking in perspective.”
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
Copeland wrote in an Instagram post she was so concerned about Plank’s comments that she spoke to him directly.
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.