Under Armour and, in particular, CEO Kevin Plank have received criticism since Tuesday, when he described President Trump as “an asset.” On Wednesday, one of the company’s most highly paid ambassadors, Steph Curry, made it clear that he does not think of Trump that way and expressed concern about whether Plank sent the right message about being “inclusive.”
Of Trump being called an “asset,” Curry said, “I agree with that description, if you remove the ‘et.’ ”
The Warriors guard’s comments came amid several that touched on his social views, during an interview with Marcus Thompson II of the San Jose Mercury News. Curry has not been among the most politically outspoken sports superstars, but since Trump’s election, the NBA has seen an emergence of voices critical of the president and his policies, including those of coaches as well as players.
Curry told Thompson that he had “spent all day” on the phone Tuesday with Under Armour officials and others, “trying to understand what was going on and where everybody stood on the issue” of the company’s stance toward Trump. Speaking on CNBC’s “Halftime Report,” Plank had said, “To have such a pro-business president is something that is a real asset for the country.”
Plank had been asked about Trump’s manufacturing jobs initiative, for which the Under Armour founder has been tapped, along with several other business leaders, to provide counsel. Plank met with the president on the latter’s first full day in office in January, during which Trump said his administration would be “cutting regulation massively” but threatened to impose a “substantial border tax” on companies that move production out of the country.
“We have teammates from different religions, races, nationalities, genders and sexual orientations; different ages, life experiences and opinions,” Under Armour said. “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.”
“Based off the release that KP sent out this morning, and what he told me last night, that’s the Under Armour that I know,” Curry told Thompson. The two-time NBA MVP said that he wasn’t opposed to Plank collaborating with Trump, but he had some concerns about Under Armour adopting what he saw as Trump’s values.
“Are we promoting change? Are we doing things that are going to look out for everybody?” Curry said. “And not being so self-serving that it’s only about making money, selling shoes, doing this and that. That’s not the priority. It’s about changing lives. I think we can continue to do that.”
“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,” Under Armour said in its statement. The company also has the likes of Tom Brady, Bryce Harper, Jordan Spieth and Lindsey Vonn on its roster of endorsers.
When asked if he would go so far as to leave Under Armour if he didn’t like the company’s direction, Curry said, “If I can say the leadership is not in line with my core values, then there is no amount of money, there is no platform I wouldn’t jump off if it wasn’t in line with who I am.”
“I feel when you see my name, when you see people wearing my stuff, when you see anybody attached to me, that they share that same passion for people that I do,” Curry added. “. . . I don’t get in people’s faces and out in the streets with a bullhorn doing it that way. But every opportunity I have to show love, to show respect, to show just that positivity, I feel like that’s my job and that’s what I stand for.”