Plank takes out pro-immigrant ad; UA pitches in for student bus passes

Under Armour founder Kevin Plank took out a full-page ad in the Feb. 15, 2017 edition of The Sun to write an open letter to Baltimore.
Under Armour founder Kevin Plank took out a full-page ad in the Feb. 15, 2017 edition of The Sun to write an open letter to Baltimore. (Brandon Weigel)

Still smarting from the backlash over his comments in support of President Trump, Under Armour founder and CEO Kevin Plank took out a full-page ad in The Sun to write an open letter to Baltimore in support of immigrants and against Trump's travel ban.

"We are publicly opposing the travel ban," Plank wrote. "With an anticipated new executive order on immigration set to come out, we will join a coaltion of companies in opposition to any new actions that negatively impact our team, their families or our community."


Plank also asserted that "immigration is a source of strength, diversity and innovation for colbal companies based in America like Under Armour. And I personally beliefve that immigration is the foundation of our country's exceptionalism."

The letter also promised that UA will take public stances on future pieces of legislation if the company feels they negatively impact the human rights of workers or endorsers—dubbed here as "teammates."

Reiterating his commitment to Baltimore, Plank highlighted the UA House at Fayette, a 30,000-square-foot community center built in partnership with the Baltimore Ravens and Living Classrooms; the company's job-training "Manufacturing Bootcamp" at the Foundery; and the UA Lighthouse manufacturing facility.

It just so happens that Under Armour last night donated $50,000, along with the $25,000 from the Ravens, to fully fund S-Passes that allow city students to ride MTA buses until 8 p.m. The shortfall had members of the City Council hosting bake sales and raising money through GoFundMe, which raised $26,000.

Even so, this round of good press may not be enough to save the company's sagging stock, at least according to one analyst.

As Bloomberg reported this morning, Sam Poser of Susquehanna International Group downgraded UA's stock from "neutral" to "negative," citing Plank's Trump comments as a barrier that "make it nearly impossible to effectively build a cool urban lifestyle brand in the foreseeable future."

"At this point we don't believe Under Armour is in danger of losing Steph Curry," Poser went on to write. "However, it simply cannot be good for business if the face of Under Armour spoke out so pointedly against the CEO's comments. Other Under Armour brand athletes such as Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson and Misty Copeland have also spoken out against Mr. Plank's comments."

The report suggests Plank should get on air to address Trump and other issues facing Under Armour.

"We are unsure to what degree such a personal action would help, but we are sure that UAA corporate releases don't appear to be taken as sincerely by the consumers that UAA needs to continue its growth trajectory," Poser rights.

When a reporter from City Paper asked about this morning's ad in relation to this assessment, Poser referred back to the report.