Ass or asset? Steph Curry goes after Trump

Under Armour CEO: All in on Baltimore
Under Armour CEO: All in on Baltimore

Under Armour has landed in the middle of a storm after Steph Curry, one of its most valuable athletes, called President Trump an asset -- "if you remove the 'et' from asset."

The tempest started on Tuesday when Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank called Trump a "real asset" to the U.S.

Curry had a different take.

"I agree with that description," Curry told The Mercury News, "if you remove the 'et' from asset."

The Golden State Warriors guard said he raised his objections with the company after Plank praised Trump's "pro-business" approach during an interview with CNBC on Tuesday.

"I spent all day yesterday on the phone," Curry told the newspaper on Wednesday, "with countless people at Under Armour, countless people in Kevin Plank's camp, my team, trying to understand what was going on and where everybody stood on the issue."

Under Armour (UA) released a statement Wednesday saying it engages in "policy, not politics." The company also distanced itself from some of Trump's more controversial positions, saying it advocates for free trade and inclusive immigration policy.

But Plank's comments are continuing to draw attention on social media.

Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson and Misty Copeland, both sponsored by Under Armour, also criticized Plank for his comments about Trump. The Rock said they were "divisive and lacking in perspective," while Copeland said she "strongly" disagreed with them.

Some customers are even threatening a boycott.

"I have three boys and I'm a runner. Based on your praise of Trump I will never buy another piece of Under Armour," Michelle Stearns tweeted.

Related: Pro-Trump boycott calls follow Super Bowl ads

Curry's endorsement is crucial for Under Armour. He's one of the best shooters in NBA history, and his signature line of footwear has helped boost sales of Under Armour basketball sneakers.

The backlash from Curry couldn't come at a worse time -- Under Armour has been struggling recently.

On Jan. 31, Under Armour reported sales and earnings that missed forecasts, and said 2017 revenues would also fall short of expectations.

The company's endorsement of New England Patriots QB Tom Brady, a friend of Trump's, could give it a boost since his team won Super Bowl LI.

But if Curry walks away from the brand that could really hurt it, especially given how close the race is for domination among UA, Nike (NKE) and Adidas (ADDDF).

Nike missed the chance to sign Curry earlier in his career and has come out strongly against Trump. This could be the opening it needs.

A change in alliances doesn't appear to be out of the question.

Curry said Under Armour's direction is key to his continued endorsement.

"If I can say the leadership is not in line with my core values, then there is no amount of money, there is no platform I wouldn't jump off," he told The Mercury News.

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