Reebok and Gyms Sever Ties With CrossFit After CEO's Racist Tweet About George Floyd
— Greg Glassman (@CrossFitCEO) June 6, 2020
On June 6, CrossFit founder Greg Glassman replied to a tweet from the Institute For Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) that mocked the murder of George Floyd and the coronavirus pandemic. The IHME tweeted, "Racism and discrimination are critical public health issues that demand an urgent response," and Glassman replied, "It's FLOYD-19." Immediately, there was backlash from the CrossFit community.
There has been an outpouring of CrossFit gyms and athletes choosing to sever ties with CrossFit because they don't want to be associated with or support a brand that doesn't support the Black community. Reebok also announced that "in light of recent events, we have made the decision to end our partnership with CrossFit HQ." The partnership will continue through the rest of 2020 and terminate at the end of the year when the deal is up for renewal.
While so many brands have come forward during this time to show their support for Black Lives Matter, CrossFit HQ has been criticized for not making a public statement in support of racial justice. On Sunday, we finally got this apology from Glassman and CrossFit:
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
"I, CrossFit HQ, and the CrossFit community will not stand for racism. I made a mistake by the words I chose yesterday. My heart is deeply saddened by the pain it has caused. It was a mistake, not racist but a mistake," @CrossFit tweeted on behalf of Glassman. In a follow-up tweet, @CrossFit tweeted: "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."
People have expressed their overwhelming frustration, anger, and disappointment, saying this wasn't a genuine apology because many, like @bigmikeloses, felt the initial comment absolutely was racist. Some people, including @BStulberg, said the apology should have come directly from Glassman's Twitter account and are overall upset at how CrossFit is handling this.
The CrossFit community is also upset about an email response Glassman sent to Alyssa Royse from the gym formerly known as Rocket CrossFit. She wrote a thoughtful letter to Brian Mulvaney, chief adviser at CrossFit Inc., honestly explaining how her gym can't be associated with the CrossFit brand name if it doesn't stand against racism. Glassman responded to Royse, a nine-year affiliate owner who pays CrossFit HQ $3,000 a year, questioning her mental health and calling her "delusional."
Many CrossFit competitors are also coming forward to show their disappointment. In this recent Instagram post by Katrín Davídsdóttir, winner of the 2015 and 2016 CrossFit Games, she said she's not sure what this means for herself or for the sport of CrossFit and wrote, "this is not leadership. This is not good human nature." If you swipe right, you can read the email response Glassman wrote to Alyssa.
CrossFit Games 2017, 2018, and 2019 winner Tia-Clair Toomey has also come forward with a response, saying, "I'm deeply apologetic from the bottom of my heart to all the people who have had to witness this ignorance and the pain it causes." She added, "My future with CrossFit is unclear and depends on the direction of HQ. I will continue to stand against ignorance and stand alongside those who fight abuse, hatred, and racism."
Rogue Fitness, the main supplier of equipment for the CrossFit Games since 2010 has also posted a statement that said, "Rogue does not support the latest statements made by the CrossFit CEO, Greg Glassman." Effective immediately, Rogue Invitational will remove the CrossFit logo from the 2020 event. As for the CrossFit 2020 Games, Rogue will "work with the CrossFit Games leadership to determine the best path forward," and plans to fulfill equipment obligations through the 2020 season to support the CrossFit athletes and the community. The brand added, "The future is dependent on the direction and leadership within CrossFit HQ," and ended on a positive note with, "We hope there is a path forward."
The response to CrossFit's apology is basically "too little, too late." People feel CrossFit is only now saying something because it's losing money from all the CrossFit boxes severing ties. CrossFit gyms and athletes are not standing for it, saying CrossFit HQ's response to the current movement to end racism is completely unacceptable and doesn't align with their values. Many are saying Glassman needs to resign. Fortunately, many CrossFit communities are coming forward to stand against racism, and hopefully CrossFit HQ's next steps will follow suit.