After Taking Heat for CEO’s Pro-Trump Comments, Under Armour Speaks Out Against Immigration Ban

Kevin Plank's pro-Trump remarks sparked controversy

Plank had said the "pro-business president" was "a real asset to this country."
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Today, Under Armour issued a statement against President Donald Trump’s executive order seeking to temporarily halt immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries and indefinitely ban the entry of Syrian refugees seeking asylum in the U.S. The president and others have described the order as a “travel ban,” and yesterday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit upheld a previous ruling that blocked it from taking effect.

The brand’s statement follows pro-Trump remarks from its CEO, Kevin Plank, on CNBC’s Halftime Report Tuesday, when he said the “pro-business president” was “a real asset to this country.” The interview resulted in social media backlash against the brand as Under Armour celebrity endorsers Misty Copeland, Stephen Curry and Dwayne Johnson came out against Plank’s remarks.

In a viral Instagram post, Copeland wrote, “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.”

In his own Instagram post, Johnson clarified that Plank’s remarks were “neither my words or my beliefs,” adding, “His words were divisive and lacking in perspective … a good company is not solely defined by its CEO.”

The timing and nature of today’s statement suggest that it’s a response such backlash, but Under Armour claims in the statement, “These are not new or revised values. This is what we believe.”

The comments also do not shy away from Plank’s relationship with the president. The statement opens by addressing the CEO’s invitation—along with the leaders of GE, Ford, Tesla and Dow Chemical—to join the American Manufacturing Council. “We believe it is important for Under Armour to be a part of that discussion,” the brand wrote.

After citing the new UA Lighthouse facility in Baltimore, which it calls an “important first step in the evolution of creating more jobs at home,” the statement clarifies that the brand engages in “policy, not politics.” Last month, the company also debuted its first “Made in the U.S.” product line.

The statement does not fully walk back Plank’s previous comments about Trump, but it claims UA advocates for “an inclusive immigration policy that welcomes the best and the brightest.”

At Under Armour, our diversity is our strength, and we will continue to advocate for policies that Protect Our House, our business, our team, and our community,” the brand continues before finally addressing the executive order directly in its final sentence. We are against a travel ban and believe that immigration is a source of strength, diversity and innovation for global companies based in America like Under Armour.”

Read the statement in its entirety below:

February 10, 2017

UNDER ARMOUR STATEMENT

At Under Armour, our culture has always been about optimism, teamwork, and unity.  We have engaged with both the prior and the current administrations in advocating on business issues that we believe are in the best interests of our consumers, teammates, and shareholders. Kevin Plank was recently invited at the request of the President of the United States, to join the American Manufacturing Council as part of a distinguished group of business leaders. He joined CEOs from companies such as Dow Chemical, Dell, Ford, GE and Tesla, among others to begin an important dialogue around creating jobs in America. We believe it is important for Under Armour to be a part of that discussion.  

We have always been committed to developing innovative ways to support and invest in American jobs and manufacturing.  For years, Under Armour has had a long-term strategy for domestic manufacturing and we recently launched our first women’s collection made in our hometown of Baltimore, MD. We are incredibly proud of this important first step in the evolution of creating more jobs at home.  

We engage in policy, not politics. 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. 

We have teammates from different religions, races, nationalities, genders and sexual orientations; different ages, life experiences and opinions. This is the core of our company. At Under Armour, our diversity is our strength, and we will continue to advocate for policies that Protect Our House, our business, our team, and our community.

These are not new or revised values. This is what we believe. Under Armour and Kevin Plank are for job creation and American manufacturing capability. We believe building should be focused on much needed education, transportation, technology and urban infrastructure investment.  We are against a travel ban and believe that immigration is a source of strength, diversity and innovation for global companies based in America like Under Armour.