Amidst an egregious travel ban on seven countries of primarily Muslim faith, unequipped cabinet member confirmations, and a divided country bordering on something found in a fictional dystopian society, it makes sense that people want to distance themselves from the Trump administration. Even more so with a political environnment where an endorsement of the unpopular 45th president can result in an endless cycle of nightmarish repercussions, ultimately placing company branding in turmoil.
Earlier this week, Kevin Plank, the CEO of Baltimore-based apparel company Under Armour, bound himself at the hip to President Trump, endorsing him outright and bestowing praise towards the business mogul. The Under Armour founder was interviewed on CNBC, stating his support for the new administration and describing Trump as a "real asset."
"He wants to build things. He wants to make bold decisions and be really decisive." Plank said. "I'm a big fan of people that operate in the world of 'published and iterate' versus 'think, think, think, think, think,' so there's a lot that I respect there."
Under Armour, a longtime staple in men's and women's exercise apparel, isn't surprising some groups with its Trump embrace. The company has a questionable history of opinions on LGBT-related issues. The company, which produces merchandise for the reality show Duck Dynasty, stood by its sponsorship deal after castmember Phil Robertson aired virulently homophobic stances.
While the brand is popular in the gay community, promoting a sexualized and overt masculinity, it remains to be seen how this latest development will effect its clientele.
Another statement was recently issued from L.L. Bean, which was interpreted as an endorsement towards the Trump administration and incited immediate backlash. The company was quick and vocal is responding, saying that they don't take political sides or endorse political figures; this came after Trump himself thanked Linda Bean personally for her support via Twitter. Bean has since said her company is one of those affected by the president's travel ban. Other organizations including Adidas, Nike, and Asics have all taken a broad stance against Trump following his immigration travel ban last week.
Included below is a statement recently issued by Under Armour:
"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."