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Business Consuming Interests

Under Armour to stick with 'Duck Dynasty' franchise amid media uproar

Baltimore-based sports apparel maker Under Armour is keeping its ties to the "Duck Dynasty" franchise amid a media uproar over comments made by star Phil Robertson about gays and blacks.

While the company says it does not condone Robertson's statements, Under Armour does not have plans to end its business dealings with the Robertson family.

"The recent comments in the GQ article are not reflective of Under Armour's beliefs and do not represent our point of view," the company said in a statement. "As a company, we are committed to diversity and inclusion and believe in treating everyone equally and with respect."

Interviewed in GQ magazine, Robertson talked about his views on homosexuality and the pre-civil-rights era south.

"Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men," he told reporter Drew Magary. "Don't be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won't inherit the kingdom of God. Don't deceive yourself. It's not right."

The show, about a Louisiana family who run a duck calling business, is a huge hit, drawing more than 11 million viewers for the A&E network.  Under Armor outfits "Buck Commander," a show that features "Duck Dynasty" players on the Outdoor Channel. The show centers on hunting and fishing, which has been growth category for the company.

It also sells hats and other sunglasses and other "Duck Dynasty" merchandise. "Duck Dynasty" star Willie Roberston recently appeared in a Winter Olympics-themed TV spot for Under Armour.

But on Friday, the Duck Dynasty products were played down on the Under Armour website. A search for the Duck Dynasty products brings up a page, telling customers that the company is out of stock.  No Duck Dynasty products appear on the site at this time, but an image of the Robertson family still promotes the company's "waterfowl" page.  The products are still being sold at other outlets like Amazon.com.

A&E suspended Robertson indefinitely "hiatus" from the show this week, leading to online campaigns to reinstate him and conservative politicians condemning the network's action.

The Robertson family released a statement on Thursday, casting doubt on whether the show would return for a sixth season. Season five, in which Phil Roberston appears in all 10 episodes, will air in January. 

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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