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Under Armour CEO retracts comments praising Trump after backlash

17 February 2017, 01:26 | Joan Schultz

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Under pressure Under Armour chief executive Kevin Plank

More than a week after Under Armour chief executive Kevin Plank went on CNBC and praised President Trump as "a real asset for this country", sparking criticism from celebrity endorsers, the sports apparel company is still playing defense.

Two other prominent Under Armour endorsers, ballerina Misty Copeland and former wrestler turned Hollywood superstar Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, have also taken issue with Plank's comments on Trump. Also, the company opposes the president's travel ban. Copeland wrote in an Instagram post she was so concerned about Plank's comments that she spoke to him directly.

Curry, the two-time defending NBA MVP who reportedly brought Under Armour $200 million in 2016 sales, responded to Plank's description of Trump as an "asset" to the country in a tweet: "I agree with that description, if you remove the 'et'".

"Commentary by CEO Kevin Plank in a polarized political climate and the pointed response by Stephen Curry make it almost impossible to effectively build a cool urban lifestyle brand in the foreseeable future", the analyst, Susquehanna International Group's Sam Poser, wrote in a research note Wednesday. Some of the company's own celebrity endorsers have spoken out against Mr. Plank's comments, including the National Basketball Association superstar Steph Curry. "I want to clarify for our hometown exactly the values for which Under Armour and I stand". "At this point we don't believe Under Armour is in danger of losing Steph Curry", Poser said in his note, according to Bloomberg. They rose 0.6 per cent to $US21.89 in NY on Wednesday.

Plank had said of President Trump: "I think he's highly passionate".

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That incident led to a "strike" by some Lululemon customers, Poser said.

On Wednesday, one well-known analyst lowered his rating of Baltimore-based Under Armour from "neutral" to "negative" and its price target from $24 per share to $14 per share.

In Under Armour's case, the company later took steps to distance itself from Trump by opposing his executive order on immigration.

Kevin Plank, founder of Under Armour, took out a full-page ad to talk about the company's values, including diversity, entrepreneurship and job creation.

He also touched on Under Armour's positive impact in Baltimore, "by doubling down on our company's presence and our investment in this city, and by making unprecedented commitments to education, workforce, development and local hiring". The ad didn't mention Trump by name.



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