Under Armour athlete Steph Curry publicly bristled at CEO Kevin Plank’s comment that President Donald Trump would be a “a real asset for the country,” remarking that he agreed with Plank only “if you remove the ‘et’ ” from asset.
Curry also appeared to issue a warning to Under Armor, telling the Mercury News that if “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.”
On Thursday’s episode of Undisputed, Shannon Sharpe, Chris Broussard and Skip Bayless reacted to Curry’s comments.
Shannon Sharpe: Steph Curry drew a line in the sand
“Well this is a very volatile political time that we’re in right now. We’re seeing athletes take more of a stance. No longer will they stand by silently while they see things affecting them, our society.
“You see normally what happens is that we see brands drop players. We saw when Tiger Woods went through his scandal, AT&T, Gatorade, Accenture … they dropped Tiger because it seemed like his values didn’t align with theirs. Well Steph Curry just drew a line in the sand.”
Shannon Sharpe: Steph Curry has the leverage in his partnership with Under Armour
“When Kevin Plank co-signed Donald Trump, Steph Curry says, ‘Well, hold on. His values do not align with my values.’ And he also said ‘no amount of money will stop me from jumping off this platform.’ That’s his line in the sand.
“Now I believe you will not hear any further comments publicly about Kevin Plank addressing Donald Trump. Because Steph Curry is in the power position. Their basketball [brand] is on the back of Steph Curry. No question about it, he’s it. Now, you make him upset, guess where he’s going? To that one up in Oregon.
“Think about this roster if [Under Armour] doesn’t acquiesce to what Steph Curry’s saying: LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Kyrie Irving. Now Russ [Westbrook] is a brand Jordan, but that’s still the swoosh.”
Chris Broussard: Athletes should take the opportunity to engage with the president for the good of the community
“I love what Steph came out and said. I like when athletes — particularly African-American athletes – come out and take stances like this. Because they are among our race’s most influential and beloved and well-respected people in this country. And like you said, Steph doesn’t do this normally. So when he does do it, it resonates even more powerfully.
“Now, that said, I believe that our athletes, our black athletes, when they’re dealing with [President] Trump, whether you disengage from him or engage him … dealing with him, we have to be smart and strategic. I like what the Patriots are doing, the players that don’t want to go there to the White House, because that’s a ceremonial thing and it’s not going to accomplish anything — it’s a photo op and all that. Fine.
“But if I’m an influential black athlete and I’m really concerned about the marginalized people in this country and I know I can meet with the president, I’m meeting with him. Now I’m not going in there to kiss his ring, and I’m not going in there so he can take pictures and say, ‘Oh he met with so-and-so.’ I’m going in there to share my concerns, and even things I would like to see done.
“… This man is still the President of the United States and has the power to help and do things that can benefit our community. So I’m just saying let’s be smart about it.”
Skip Bayless: Is Steph Curry going to move away from Under Armour?
“Back to Under Armour, do you guys believe what I read from Steph, at the end of the day he said he had conversations with people at Under Armour all day long with Kevin Plank’s people, I assume with Kevin Plank himself. And that in the end, he was quoted as saying, Steph was, ‘I’m satisfied with their explanation’ … it’s in the business context, not in the greater political context. Are you guys satisfied with that, or do you think Steph was just saying that for PR’s sake?
“… If he wasn’t satisfied with the explanation, what’s his recourse? Could he walk away? Could he take it to court to walk away? Because the initial quotes are so profound, they’re coming from such a deep place in Steph for the first time ever, and he’s got the kind of mental toughness where if he digs in — because he doesn’t speak out very much … My first thought was, ‘Wow, would he fight this all the way home?’ Would he say ‘I just can’t work for or with this company’?”