Activist Athletes Pose An ‘Unprecedented’ Threat To Sponsor Brands

by MR Magazine Staff

On Friday, Dwayne Johnson became the latest Under Armour athlete who distanced himself from CEO Kevin Plank and his pro-Trump comments, joining Misty Copeland and Stephen Curry who have already done the same. Plank, Johnson wrote in a statement, inadvertently created “a situation where the personal political opinions of UA’s partners and its employees were overshadowed by the comments of its CEO. A good company is not solely defined by its CEO. A good company is not defined by the athlete or celebrity who partners with them.” While Johnson said he plans to stick with the company, Curry has been more outspoken, saying no amount of money could force him to stay with a brand that isn’t in line with his values. For athletes, it’s an unprecedented situation. The breakdown of sponsor-athlete relationships is not a new thing. The difference is, it’s usually the sponsor dropping a badly behaving athlete. After golfer Tiger Woods got into a car accident and admitted to an affair, Gatorade, AT&T, Accenture and Gillette all dropped him. The USPS famously sued cyclist Lance Armstrong for fraud after he was caught in a doping incident. Read more at Digiday.