A week after Steph Curry and other athletes slammed sports gear maker Under Armour for appearing to voice support for President Donald Trump, CEO Kevin Plank responded with a full-page ad in the Baltimore Sun in which he said his earlier words “did not accurately reflect my intent.”
In his open letter Wednesday, Plank did not specifically mention Trump, who he had previously called an “asset.” He did, however, say the company supports equal rights, immigration and job creation, and that it opposes a controversial travel ban, which is directed at seven Muslim-majority countries.
“We will continue to stand for equality, diversity and opportunity for all. In a time of division, we aspire to be a force of unity, growth and optimism for our city and our country,” the CEO of the Baltimore-based company said.
Curry, who was raised in Charlotte and went to Davidson, is one of many high-profile athletes who have endorsement contracts with Under Armour. Last week, he told the San Jose Mercury News that he agreed with Plank’s assessment that Trump is “an asset” to the country – “if you remove the ‘et’ from ‘asset.’”
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Curry also said he sought clarification from Under Armour about Plank’s comments.
Others including professional ballerina Misty Copeland, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and the German soccer team FC St. Pauli similarly voiced opposition to Plank following Curry’s remarks. As of midday Wednesday, none of the Under Armour athletes had responded to Plank’s letter.
It’s not unusual to see activism among corporations these days.
Over the weekend, Nike released a video with a message of equality that featured professional athletes like Serena Williams, Lebron James and Kevin Durant. And last week, Charlotte-based Belk, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom and other retailers, citing sluggish sales, pulled Ivanka Trump’s clothing line from their websites.
Experts say Curry, a two-time NBA MVP and one of Under Armour’s top endorser, likely won’t be punished for speaking out, but rather that it could work in his favor. Last week, Curry’s father, Dell, said he was proud of how his son handled the situation.