CrossFit is under fire after its founder and CEO's controversial tweet regarding George Floyd’s death, prompting gyms to end their affiliation with the company on Monday.
Several gyms, as well as Reebok, announced they would end their partnership with CrossFit after founder and CEO Greg Glassman tweeted over the weekend in response to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
The institute tweeted a statement saying that “racism and discrimination are critical public health issues that demand an urgent response."
Glassman responded by saying, “It’s FLOYD-19.”
It's FLOYD-19.— Greg Glassman (@CrossFitCEO) June 6, 2020
In another tweet, he replied to the institute, saying, "Your failed model quarantined us and now you're going to model a solution to racism?
“George Floyd's brutal murder sparked riots nationally,” the post continued. “Quarantine alone is 'accompanied in every age and under all political regimes by an undercurrent of suspicion, distrust, and riots.' Thanks!"
Reebok released a statement obtained by The Hill in response to Glassman’s posts saying its partnership with CrossFit will end “later this year” and the company decided to “end our partnership” with CrossFit “in light of recent events.”
"We will fulfill our remaining contractual obligations in 2020,” a spokesperson for Reebok said. "We owe this to the CrossFit Games competitors, fans and the community. What doesn’t change is our commitment and dedication to CrossFitters and the passionate CrossFit community."
Rogue Fitness called Glassman’s comments “unacceptable under all conditions” and decided to remove the CrossFit logo from its 2020 event. The gym said it will fulfill its 2020 commitments, but “the future is dependent on the direction and leadership within CrossFit HQ.”
View this post on Instagram
Rogue does not support the latest statements made by the CrossFit CEO, Greg Glassman. His comments are unacceptable under all conditions. The community is bigger than one person. The movement is stronger than one person. Noone should be expected to tolerate anything that keeps us from moving forward as one. Effective Immediately: 1.0 Rogue Invitational will remove the CrossFit Logo from the 2020 event. We will only allow discussion of sanctioning with real discussion on the future 2.0 Rogue will work with the CrossFit Games leadership to determine the best path forward. We will fulfill the 2020 season for the athletes and the community. The future is dependent on the direction and leadership within CrossFit HQ. Rogue has been the equipment provider since 2010 and we believe it is part of our DNA. We hope there is a path forward. We stand behind the community.
A post shared by Rogue Fitness (@roguefitness) onADVERTISEMENT
Four-time winner of the CrossFit Games Rich Froning also criticized Glassman’s tweet in a video and statement on Instagram.
“I feel like if I was to continue to follow along with someone who was going to preach division, and not bring us together, I would be going against who I am as a person,” he said.
View this post on Instagram
I’m not really sure how to start this. Loyalty is and always has been one of the values I hold strong to and have been anchored in throughout my life. My personal definition of loyalty takes into account and considers imperfection, making mistakes, asking forgiveness, and even showing grace to others who can never seem to get it right. However, my definition of loyalty does have firm boundaries. CrossFit has been something I’ve felt loyalty towards over the past 10 years. While I’ve struggled with some decisions made by CFHQ over the last couple of years and what I’ve felt like have personally alienated some of the people who sacrificed and helped grow its brand. That is nothing compared to what has happened the last couple of days and has made it impossible to stay loyal to leadership who make callous statements that alienate and divide in a time when unity is needed. When I really sit and reflect it hasn’t been CFHQ that I have been loyal to, but the community that supports inclusivity, fitness for all, and health. We will continue to be a part of that community but can no longer be loyal to someone or something that is so far from my own values. While I’m considering what our next steps are we cannot and will not stand with these comments or beliefs.
A post shared by richfroning (@richfroning) on
In an apology statement released by CrossFit, Glassman said he and the company “will not stand for racism” and acknowledged that invoking Floyd’s name was “wrong.”
“I made a mistake by the words I chose yesterday,” he said. “My heart is deeply saddened by the pain it has caused. It was a mistake, not racist, but a mistake."
“It’s our hope that his murder catalyzes real change resulting in a level playing field for our black brothers and sisters,” the CEO added.
Floyd is a hero in the black community and not just a victim. I should have been sensitive to that and wasn't. I apologize for that. I was trying to stick it to the @IHME_UW for their invalidated models resulting in needless, economy-wrecking, life-wrecking lockdown,— CrossFit (@CrossFit) June 8, 2020
An affiliate gym owner in Seattle, Alyssa Royse, wrote a column last week criticizing CrossFit for not being vocal in the Black Lives Matter movement. She included in her post an email response from Glassman that said, "I sincerely believe that quarantine has adversely impacted your mental health.”
"You're doing your best to brand us as racist and you know it's bullshit. That makes you a really shitty person. Do you understand that?" the CEO allegedly wrote. "You've let your politics warp you into something that strikes me as wrong to the point of being evil. I am ashamed of you."
--This report was updated at 1:21 p.m.