Under Armour’s Dog Whistle to White Nationalism
Over the weekend a number of members of Trump’s various advisory committees departed in response to his failure to denounce the white nationalists causing havoc in Charlottesville. It came as a shock that only today did Under Armour’s CEO Kevin Plank, belatedly leave Trump’s manufacturing council. More interestingly, he did so only after Trump belatedly denounced the racist groups active in Charlottesville.
The timing of these announcements cannot be seen as anything else then a targeted appeal to the white nationalist consumer, many of whom feel betrayed following Trump’s belated disavowal of their movement. By only now distancing the company from Trump after his disavowal, Under Armour seeks to dog-whistle to white nationalists that their brand still has a home for them. Under Armour has a history of appealing to militaristic and/or fascistic consumers (See their 2016 “Band of Ballers” T-Shirt). Furthermore, the brand has done little promote diversity when compared with brands such as United Colors of Benetton.
If Under Armour will seek to directly remedy these problems, or protect their bottom line instead — remains to the seen.