Following public criticism of Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank’s comments Tuesday praising President Trump’s business acumen, the company is making a distinction between policy and politics.
Under Armour released a second statement Friday morning that said Plank — a University of Maryland alumnus — is for American manufacturing and job creation, and called immigration a “source of strength.”
“We are against a travel ban and believe that immigration is a source of strength, diversity and innovation for global companies based in America like Under Armour,” the statement read. Its first statement, released on Wednesday, had said the company believes in fair trade and tax reform in addition to an inclusive immigration policy.
The Trump administration has come under fire in the past two weeks after issuing an executive order Jan. 27 that banned citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries, along with refugees, from entering the U.S. On Thursday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously to uphold a Feb. 3 block on the ban.
In a Tuesday interview with CNBC, Plank had said Trump being “such a pro-business president is something that is a real asset for the country.”
“I’m a big fan of people that operate in the world of ‘publish and iterate’ versus ‘think, think, think, think, think,'” Plank told CNBC. “So there’s a lot that I respect there.”
Since Tuesday’s interview, several Under Armour partners, including Misty Copeland, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Steph Curry, have publicly denounced Plank’s comments.
Curry, Golden State Warriors point guard, said in an interview with the San Jose Mercury News on Wednesday that he spent countless hours on the phone with people from the company to “understand what was going on.”
“I agree with that description [of Trump], if you remove the ‘et’ from asset,” Curry said.
Six New England Patriots players have also said that they will be skipping out on a White House visit, according to The New York Times. LeGarrette Blount, the team’s running back, told Fox Sports that he did not feel welcome at the White House.
Torrey Smith, a wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers and another alumnus of this university, tweeted that he was disappointed with Plank’s comments, but noted that Plank spoke from a business perspective. He added that “if you are a Fortune 500 company I’m sure you view Trump as an asset.”
Very disappointed….but he spoke from a buisness perspective….if you are a Fortune 500 company I’m sure you view Trump as an asset https://t.co/ciiH1hJHRl
— Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) February 8, 2017
Since taking office last month, Trump has issued several pro-business executive orders, such as rolling back parts of the Dodd-Frank Act, which was passed in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, and requiring that for every new regulation, two must be marked for repeal.
Trump’s administration also recently invited Plank to join the American Manufacturing Council as part of a “distinguished group of business leaders,” according to Friday’s statement.
The council will “begin an important dialogue around creating jobs in America,” the statement read. “We believe it is important for Under Armour to be a part of that discussion.”
Plank has donated tens of millions of dollars to this university’s athletics department, including $25 million in 2014 for the renovation of Cole Field House.