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It was only a matter of time.
Under Armour ambassadors Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and ballerina Misty Copeland are distancing themselves from Kevin Plank, Under Armour CEO, after he told a reporter on CNBC Wednesday that he believes President Donald Trump is “a real asset” to our country with regards to how his policies will effect his brand economically. Following the interview, Under Armour issued a lengthy statement asserting that Plank’s pro-Trump remarks were in no way reflective of the brand’s commitment to diversity.
However, on Friday, both stars felt compelled to post contemplative-looking photos on Instagram and clarify that Plank’s remarks are not necessarily in line with their own views.
“His words were divisive and lacking in perspective,” said Johnson, adding that Plank “inadvertently [created] a situation where the personal political opinions of UA’s partners and its employees were overshadowed by the comments of its CEO.”
He continued, “We don’t partner with a brand casually. I partner with brands I trust and with people who share my same values. That means a commitment to diversity, inclusion, community, open-mindedness and some serious hard work. But it doesn’t mean that I or my team will always agree with the opinion of everyone who works there, including its executives. Great leaders inspire and galvanize the masses during turbulent times, they don’t cause people to divide and disband.”
Despite their differences, Johnson added that he feels an “obligation to stand with this diverse team, the American and global workers, who are the beating heart and soul of Under Armour and the reason I chose to partner with them.”
Copeland, too, kept her response diplomatic. “I have always appreciated the great support and platform that Under Armour has given me to represent my community, gender, and career on the world stage,” she begins. “However, I strongly disagree with Kevin Plank’s recent comments in support of Trump as recently reported. Those of you who have supported and followed my career know that the one topic I’ve never backed away from speaking openly about is the importance of diversity and inclusion.”
She added, “It is imperative to me that my partners and sponsors share this belief. 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.”
Steph Curry, the Golden State Warriors point guard who is also a spokesman for the brand, was less subtle with his response. In an interview with the San Francisco Bay Area’s Mercury News, Curry made the following suggestion: “remove the ‘et’ from asset.”
Super Bowl champion Tom Brady, another Under Armour ambassador, has not issued a public statement. Yet.
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