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Under Armour CEO responds to criticism of Trump praise

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Under Armour founder and CEO Kevin Plank at the company's world headquarters in Baltimore

The Under Armour chief executive came under fire for his comments on Donald Trump, after giving an interview to CNBC last week saying: "To have such a pro-business President is something that is a real asset to this country".

"Welp, guess I'll be outfitting my sons in Nike gear this baseball season", said one tweet, among many from people who called themselves longtime Under Armour customers pledging to boycott the brand. "Other Under Armour brand athletes such as Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Misty Copeland have also spoken out against Mr. Plank's comments".

That remark led Stephen Curry, the star of the NBA's Golden State Warriors and a key Under Armour endorser, to quip that he agreed with Plank's description of Trump - but only after removing the letters "et" from asset.

Sam Poser, an analyst with Wall Street brokerage Susquehanna Financial Group. downgraded Under Armour's stock to a "negative" rating Wednesday. "I want to clarify for our hometown exactly the values for which Under Armour and I stand".

Kevin Plank hasn't had the best week.

Plank's recent comments in Wednesday's letter marked the first personal public response from the CEO: The company had already issued two separate statements last week, the first explaining the company's desire for and inclusive immigration policy, fair trade, and tax reform, and another on Friday saying that the company opposes the current administration's travel ban. "However, it simply can not be good for business if the face of Under Armour spoke out so pointedly against the CEO's comments". "To that end, we believe in growing American manufacturing capability". They rose 0.6 per cent to $US21.89 in NY on Wednesday.

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"Regardless of CEO Plank's political views or whether his comment was meant to be a Trump endorsement or a general opinion, we believe the decision to express a view in today's highly charged political climate was a mistake", he said.

Sharemarket analyst Poser compared the incident to a gaffe by Lululemon Athletica in 2013. "Some women's bodies just actually don't work", he said. He cut his stock-price target to $14 from $24.

In Under Armour's case, the company later took steps to distance itself from Trump by opposing his executive order on immigration.

"In a business television interview last week, I answered a question with a choice of words that did not accurately reflect my intent", Plank writes.

Plank also said in both Baltimore and Under Armour "our diversity is our strength". The ad didn't mention Trump by name.

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