Movie star Dwayne Johnson has no plans to ditch his endorsement deal with Under Armour, despite disagreeing with the “divisive” political comments made by the sportswear brand’s CEO.
Company boss Kevin Plank hit headlines this week after heaping praise on new U.S. President Donald Trump, claiming the billionaire businessman is a “real asset” to the country.
His remarks split fans of the brand, and even basketball star Steph Curry, one of the faces of the label, publicly blasted Plank for his statement, pointedly telling The Mercury News, “I agree with that description if you remove the ‘et’ from asset.”
Plank has since clarified his stance on Trump’s presidency, insisting he was only referring to the leader from a business perspective and was not in reference to his controversial policies, including his attempt to ban refugees and travelers from seven mostly-Muslim nations from entering the U.S.
Now former wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne, who landed a deal with Under Armour last year, has offered up his thoughts on the situation, making it clear he does not approve of Plank’s praise.
I appreciate and welcome the feedback from people who disagree (and agree) with Kevin Plank's words on CNBC, but these are neither my words, nor my beliefs. His words were divisive and lacking in perspective. Inadvertently creating a situation where the personal political opinions of UA’s partners and its employees were overshadowed by the comments of its CEO. A good company is not solely defined by its CEO. A good company is not defined by the athlete or celebrity who partners with them. A good company is not a single person. A good company is a team, a group of brothers and sisters committed to working together each and every day to provide for their families and one another and the clients they serve. 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. My responsibility here is not only to the global audience we serve, but also to the thousands of workers who pour blood, sweat, and tears into making Under Armour strong. A diverse group of hardworking men and women who possess integrity, respect and compassion for one another and the world they live in. Debate is healthy. But in a time of widespread disagreement, so is loyalty. I feel 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. My commitment is as real as my sweat and callouses that thicken daily. #CommittedToThePeople
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Leading ballet dancer Misty Copeland, another brand ambassador, has also spoken out against Plank’s comments via social media.