Under Armour inundated with 'Duck Dynasty' fan mail

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December 23, 2013|By Tim Swift, The Baltimore Sun  

Under Armour may not want to talk about "Duck Dynasty," but fans of the now controversial reality show took to the Baltimore-based company's social media accounts this weekend to praise Under Armour for sticking by the embattled franchise.

Other than a brief statement condeming star Phil Robertson's comments, representatives from Under Armour have not responded to multiple requests for comment. 

Interviewed in GQ magazine, Robertson called homosexuality a sin and said African Americans were "happy" in the pre-civil-rights era south.

A&E -- the cable network that airs "Duck Dynasty" -- suspended Robertson indefinitely from the show last week, leading to online campaigns to reinstate him and conservative politicians condemning the network's action.

Under Armour is one of many companies caught in the cultural crossfire. The restaurant chain Cracker Barrel removed "Duck Dynasty" products from its stores last week, but reversed itself after customers complained.

The show, about a Louisiana family who run a duck calling business, is a huge hit, drawing more than 11 million viewers for the A&E network. "Duck Dynasty" also sells a huge amount of merchandise -- from T-shirts to board games.

Under Armor outfits "Buck Commander," a show that features "Duck Dynasty" players on the Outdoor Channel. The show centers on hunting and fishing, which has been growth category for the company.

It also sells hats and other sunglasses and other "Duck Dynasty" merchandise. "Duck Dynasty" star Willie Roberston recently appeared in a Winter Olympics-themed TV spot for Under Armour. The company has played down its connection to the Robertson family on its website, but announced no plans to the end the business relationship.

Meanwhile, Under Armour's Facebook page blew up over the weekend with users posting hundreds of comments supporting Robertson.

"Thanks for sticking with the Ducks," wrote Michelle Olin, indicative of the many of the comments. "I will go out of my way to buy Under Armor."

Those criticizing Under Armour were present, but were certainly in the minority.

"Waiting for Under Armour to do the right thing and withdraw support from the homophobic and racist Duck Dynasty before purchasing again," wrote Virginia Smith of Portland, Ore.

And of course, every now and then a normal commenter entered the fray -- actually talking about Under Armour's products amid the all political discourse.

"Your 3.0 Base layer leggings are too short!" Casey Hammond complained. Unlike the Duck Dynasty fans, Under Armour quickly responded to Hammond, offering to help with the return. 

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