It’s been a week since Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank praised President Donald Trump, calling him a “real asset for the country.” In the time since, the company has faced backlash from celebrity endorsers on top of an already struggling financial situation.
Golden State Warriors player and Under Armour’s lead endorser, Stephen Curry, was asked about the comments made by Plank. The two-time MVP usually stays quiet on political commentary, but, this time, the basketball all-star offered his thoughts. Curry said that he agreed, if you remove the ‘et.’
Curry said he was surprised by Plank’s comments and spent time with Under Armour personnel, his team and many others to try to understand the situation and figure out where people stood on this particular issue.
“Steph is in a unique position,” said Jim Tanner, who represents many NBA athletes. “He is considered one of the best and most marketable athletes in the world. If he loses an endorsement, he has innumerable other companies, particularly athletic footwear and apparel companies, waiting in line for him to endorse their brand.”
In most cases, celebrities and the companies they endorse tend to stay publicly on the same page. If the celebrity happily supports the company, the business can expect that, so long as the celebrity or athlete is successful in their career, everything will be okay.
But, since Curry’s comments, others like Dwayne Johnson and Misty Copeland, the first African-American female principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre, took to their own social media accounts to voice their opposition to the comments made by Plank.
Loss in public support from celebrity endorsers as well as rival company Nike simultaneously releasing a campaign with emphasis on equality came at a bad time for Under Armour. The company’s stock saw its largest fall in nine years, with analysts like Chen Grazutis saying that there is “very little optimism for 2017.”
Under Armour has since released a statement about the CEO’s comments, and Plank has reportedly told Curry that he meant in the comments in the business sense, not for the 45th President’s controversial statements/actions on issues like immigration.