Not surprisingly, Under Armour’s splashiest signee, Stephen Curry, was asked to comment on Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank’s description of Donald Trump as a “real asset” during a CNBC interview yesterday (February 7th). In an interview with Mercury News, Curry, said, “I agree with that description if you remove the ‘et’” from asset.
“I spent all day yesterday on the phone with countless people at Under Armour, countless people in Kevin Plank’s camp, my team, trying to understand what was going on and where everybody stood on the issue. Based off the release that KP sent out this morning, and what he told me last night, that’s the Under Armour that I know. That’s the brand I know he’s built and one that, as of Wednesday afternoon, is something that I’m standing on,” said Curry.
The NBA All Star added that regardless of what the President does, it matters that Under Armour stand in its commitment to its own core values. “How inclusive we are, what we stand for,” said Curry. He’s the President. There are going to be people that are tied to them. But are we promoting change? Are we doing things that are going to look out for everybody? And not being so self-serving that it’s only about making money, selling shoes, doing this and that. That’s not the priority. It’s about changing lives. I think we can continue to do that.”
When asked if he had mulled leaving Under Armour over the Plank’s comments, Curry stated, “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. So that’s a decision I will make every single day when I wake up. If something is not in line with what I’m about, then, yeah, I definitely need to take a stance in that respect.”
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After a disappointing 4Q16 earnings report (January 31st) causing Under Armour‘s stock price to plummet, CEO Kevin Plank paid a visit to CNBC’s “Halftime Report,” yesterday (February 7th) to assure viewers that his company was going to be just fine.
“You look in my eyes and tell me: Do you believe this is the team that’s done this for 21 years, 11 years public and knows how to win?,” Plank said, going on to compare his company’s ability to bounce back to Tom Brady’s Super Bowl come back for the New England Patriots.
“This company plays offense. Like this company throws punches. That is what we do, and it’s how we continue expecting to be able to run again. And so, you know, we feel good. But you know, there are tweaks,” Plank said.
When asked his thoughts on Donald Trump, the CEO gave a two-thumbs up response, saying, “I think he’s highly passionate. To have such a pro-business President is something that is a real asset for the country. People can really grab that opportunity. He loves to build I don’t think there’s any surprises here. When you look at the president he wants to build things. He wants to build things he wants to make bold decisions and be really decisive. I’m a big fan of people that operate in the world of publish and iterate versus think, think, think, think, think. So there’s a lot that I respect there., he wants to build things,” said Plank
Given Under Armour as a brand has consistently struggled to connect with not just the city-center customer and sneaker culture but also women, his bold endorsements of Trump at the least seems uncalled for and reflects a disconnect with the current mindset of the majority of U.S. consumers. It is within the realm of possibility that is was a deliberate branding exercise with Plank doubling down with his brand’s base, a suburban, white male customer.
Already, anti-Trump consumer group Save Your Wallet has responded through co-founded Ann Coulter, who tweeted and retweeted multiple items related to boycotting the brand.
— Shannon Coulter (@shannoncoulter) February 7, 2017
Plank’s statement is also at odds with Nike and Adidas, whose executives haven’t commented specifically on Trump, but did issue public statements critical of Trump’s travel ban. As well, Nike has joined forces with Americans for Affordable Products, an organization dedicated to shutting down any hike to border taxes.
The prospect of increased border taxes didn’t sit well with Plank, who told CNBC, “The border tax would have an absolutely very, very difficult effect on all companies in the consumer space, particularly retailers. It’s the No. 1 issue when you ask me about the new administration.”