Under Armour founder and CEO is addressing the backlash he received after making several comments earlier this month that were deemed pro-Trump.
In an open letter published in The Baltimore Sun today, Plank said his statements during a CNBC interview — during which he referred to President Donald Trump as “a real asset” to businesses and a “highly passionate” person — did not accurately reflect his intent.
“I want to clarify to our hometown exactly the values for which Under Armour and I stand,” Plank writes.
Under Armour’s chief went on to say that his company is a supporter of equal rights, immigration and job creation in the U.S.
“We believe that immigration is a source of strength, diversity and innovation for global companies based in America like Under Armour,” Plank said, noting that the company will publicly oppose any new executive order against immigration. “And I personally believe that immigration is the foundation of our country’s exceptionalism.”
Plank also promised that the brand will take “other public positions on legislation around the country in support of the interests of our teammates whenever policy conflicts with human rights.”
Still, the CEO’s public redress could be too little, too late, according to some.
In addition to shouldering public criticism from brand endorsers Stephen Curry and Misty Copeland, Under Armour has to contend with negative analyst commentary regarding the viability of its shares following Plank’s controversial statements.
Susquehanna Financial Group LLLP analyst Sam Poser slashed his estimates and price targets for the brand and advised investors to sell the firm’s stock today, citing Plank’s controversial commentary as well as ongoing issues with the sustainability of UA’s growth.
“The company is at an inflection point,” Poser writes. “The current valuation and sloppy management commentary in a polarized political environment when the company needs to attract a new demographic makes 20 percent annual revenue growth a thing of the past for the foreseeable future.”
Poser downgraded the firm’s shares from neutral to negative and lowered the price target from $24 to $14.
Under Armour had also released a statement last week in which the company sought to clarify its CEO’s political commentary, stating that its culture “has always been about optimism, teamwork and unity” and that it participates “in policy, not politics.”
“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,” a spokesperson for Under Armour said. “We have always been committed to developing innovative ways to support and invest in American jobs and manufacturing.”