Business

More execs leave Trump manufacturing council in a move that Steph Curry praised

NBA star and former Davidson Wildcats Steph Curry poses with students in front of the newly renamed Section 30 for Curry’s uniform number he wore during his Davidson career on Jan. 24, 2017.
NBA star and former Davidson Wildcats Steph Curry poses with students in front of the newly renamed Section 30 for Curry’s uniform number he wore during his Davidson career on Jan. 24, 2017. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Under Armour does not want to anger Steph Curry again.

The athletic apparel maker’s CEO Kevin Plank stepped down from Donald Trump’s manufacturing council Monday, marking the latest step Under Armour is taking to distance itself from the president, whom high-profile endorsers like Curry have criticized.

Early Tuesday morning, Curry, the two-time NBA MVP and former Davidson College star who grew up in Charlotte, took to Twitter to praise Plank’s move in a series of congratulatory emojis.

By Tuesday evening, leaders from eight six corporations or organizations, from Ford to the AFL-CIO, had said they would step down from the council over Trump’s response to the white nationalists who protested in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend. Earlier this summer, Tesla CEO Elon Musk left the council after Trump decided to leave the Paris accord.

The CEO of Charlotte-based steel maker Nucor remains on the manufacturing council, although the company told the Observer it condemns the violence in Charlottesville, and rejects “the hate, bigotry, and racism expressed at the demonstration.”

Via Twitter, Plank did not explicitly mention Charlottesville as his rationale for leaving the council, although he did say Under Armour “engages in innovation and sports, not politics.”

“I love our country and our company and will continue to focus on my efforts on inspiring every person that they can do anything through the power of sport which promotes unity, diversity and inclusion,” Plank said.

After Plank praised Trump’s business acumen in a CNBC interview in February, Curry 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.’”

Curry is one of Under Armour’s top endorsers. The company signed the star of the Golden State Warriors, the defending NBA champions, to a contract extension in 2015 that reportedly runs through 2024 and includes an equity stake in the company.

In other words, Under Armour knows Curry isn’t someone they can replace easily, experts say.

Curry asked Plank to explain his praise of Trump. Other prominent athletes including ballerina Misty Copeland, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and the German soccer team FC St. Pauli also questioned Plank following Curry’s remarks.

Plank later responded with a full-page ad in the Baltimore Sun in which he said his earlier words “did not accurately reflect my intent.”

On Tuesday morning, Trump went on Twitter to slam the CEOs who decided to leave the manufacturing council, calling them “grandstanders” whom he can replace.

The violence in Charlottesville started Saturday when a group of white nationalists gathered to protest the removal of Confederate symbols. A car plowed through a group of counter protesters, killing one person and injuring over a dozen others. The Associated Press contributed.

Katherine Peralta: 704-358-5079, @katieperalta

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