Kevin Plank’s nationally televised support for our fire-starting president has now drawn the ire of one of his brand’s most coveted athletes.
Two-time NBA MVP and one-time world champion Stephen Curry told his hometown paper yesterday that the Under Armour CEO’s praise for Donald Trump on CNBC Tuesday left him with questions. “Are we promoting change?” he posed to the San Jose Mercury News. “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.”
Plank, a member of Trump’s manufacturing advisory team, said in a CNBC interview on Tuesday that Trump is “highly passionate.” He added, “To have such a pro-business president is something that is a real asset for the country. People can really grab that opportunity.”
“I agree with that description, if you remove the ‘et’ from asset,” Curry quipped in response.
Curry signed an endorsement deal with Under Armour in 2013 and re-upped in 2015 with an extension that runs through 2024, per Sports Illustrated. His signing with South Baltimore-based Under Armour was seen as a major coup, as the company was competing with athletic wear industry giant Nike for his endorsement. Curry’s deal pays him $4 million a year and gives him an equity stake in the company.
Curry said he spoke with Plank the same day his CNBC interview set off a social media firestorm and customer boycott. The CEO told the star point guard he wasn’t supporting Trump’s other controversial policies and remarks that target women, immigrants, minorities and others, according to the Mercury News.
Yesterday, Under Armour put out a statement that said just about as much. “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,” said the firm’s statement.
Curry noted that outlook appeased some of his concerns. However, when asked if he would leave Under Armour if he didn’t like the firm’s direction, he didn’t rule the option out. “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,” he told the newspaper.
Curry’s departure would be exactly what Under Armour doesn’t need right now. The company has taken some serious hits this past week after it announced it missed its revenue target for the final quarter of 2016 and set a 2017 growth target equal to about half its average growth rate from the last five years. The firm also revealed that its chief financial officer, who was hired only a year ago, would be departing this month.
The announcements sent share prices tumbling by as much as 25 percent and led some credit firms to lower Under Armour’s ratings to previously uncharted junky levels.
Plank defended his firm’s vitality in that same CNBC interview. “We want to run this company and if investors need any message, we’re not going anywhere,” he said. “My two feet are planted in this company.”
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