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Say it ain't so, Kevin

I haven't told my 11-year-old son about what Kevin Plank said about Donald Trump ("Kevin Plank, Donald Trump and the fallacy of the businessman president," Feb. 8). He thinks the world of the Under Armour CEO. He met Mr. Plank this August at Rehoboth Beach. My son was selling lemonade at the end of Oak Street by the beach, and Mr. Plank came jogging by. Like a lot of passersby, Mr. Plank said he didn't have money, but that he'd be back. Lots of people say that. But then he came back, 10 minutes later with a $10 bill. He let the youngster keep the change on the one dollar lemonade, but even cooler, he stopped and talked to my son for 10 minutes about business and how every kid should start a lemonade stand. He'll never forget that, and he keeps the $10 bill in his drawer of special stuff — near a picture of him and his beloved first grade teacher. He even took $390 he earned this summer selling lemonade and bought Under Armour stock with it. And although that stock is now worth half what he paid, he has been sticking by Kevin Plank and UA for the long haul.

When I read what Mr. Plank said about President Trump, it made me sick. I can't begin to express my surprise and disappointment.

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And I'm a huge fan of the Under Amour CEO, too. As a Baltimore resident for the last 15 years, I've seen his incredible impact on our city firsthand. He built a company that provides thousands of jobs here. But even more than that, his company has come to embody the new spirit of our town: tough, innovative, and yes, cool. I strongly support his vision for Port Covington, and UA logos can be seen on my kids, my wife and myself daily. I've also known many people who work for him and I know that there is really only one person at UA who is completely dedicated to keeping Under Armour in Baltimore: Kevin Plank. I think him for all he's done for our city. For a kid from Rockville, his commitment to us is nothing short of remarkable.

So how could he?

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In our city, where the high school graduation rate hovers below 50 percent, how could he support President Trump after Betsy DeVos was appointed to lead our nation's schools?

In our city, where the waterfront teems with visitors from all over the world, where our universities are international hubs, how could he support President Trump after the Muslim ban?

I know it's an honor to be invited to the White House, flattering to serve on a presidential advisory board with Elon Musk and many other amazing business leaders. But what he said about Donald Trump is just wrong.

Mr. Trump's not "decisive," he's dangerous. He's not "pro-business," he's anti-worker, not to mention a terrible businessman. He's not action-oriented, he's completely thoughtless. Mr. Plank said there's a lot to respect about him. No, there's not. At all. He's a fraud, a gargoyle, a mortal danger to children.

Everyone saw what happened to Uber. Does Mr. Plank think Under Armour is different?

I urge him to please retract his comments about Donald Trump as soon as possible. His attack on America in unprecedented and presents the greatest threat to our Republic since the Civil War. History is watching. Mr. Plank means too much to Baltimore to go down like this. If UA loses its "cool," it's all over, and this was about the most uncool move possible.

The day after the comments, Under Armour said in a statement that this is about policy not politics. But that's impossible. They are one in the same. Especially now. Everything is different now. It's not about right versus left, it's about right versus wrong. Alternate facts are wrong. They're lies. Undermining the public faith in our elections, in the media and in the judiciary is worse than wrong. It's incredibly dangerous. I think Mr. Plank thinks this, too. This is not politics, it's simple reason. Please say it.

Mr. Plank has invested in our city in amazing ways, truly a once-in-a-generation vision and commitment. But we're invested in him, too. Baltimore has made an all-in bet on Under Armour. The company simply must succeed or Baltimore cannot. Our fates are tied. That's why Mr. Plank must proceed with greater caution. He must protect this city, or he won't protect his own house.

My best hope is that this is just a public relations gaffe, nothing more and nothing less. I'm not asking Mr. Plank to step down from the advisory board, although that would a great move in my eyes. I'm asking him to speak the truth about Donald Trump. I know there is so much about what President Trump does that I know Mr. Plank must disagree with. So he should say what concerns him about Mr. Trump publicly. Let him show us he is not blind to what makes us so sick and scared daily about Donald Trump. Give us a reason to urge our friends who want to boycott Under Armour to reconsider. They already want to. Because we're in this together.

I'm not going to tell my son anything about this until next week, when I'm hoping to have better news to share about his hero.

John Sherman, Baltimore

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