Single tweet unleashes furious fitness row
A massive row has erupted in the fitness world with influencers and gyms deserting CrossFit CEO Greg Glassman for his insensitive remarks about the US protests.
CrossFit is a high-intensity interval training program which has gyms across the world, including Australia.
Its highly popular form of exercise has also spawned the CrossFit Games as well as making a slew of its devotees into bonafide CrossFit stars.
But over the weekend the fitness company's US-based CEO Mr Glassman sparked fury when he tweeted in response to a tweet by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation which said racism and discrimination were "critical public health issues".
"Floyd-19," Mr Glassman wrote in response, referencing the killing of black man George Floyd, whose death in police custody has sparked the worldwide Black Lives Matter movement.
It's FLOYD-19.— Greg Glassman (@CrossFitCEO) June 6, 2020
The backlash against Mr Glassman was swift, with followers calling out his tweet as "tone deaf" and "disgusting".
Wow, this is beyond tone death. Thank you for letting your Black athletes know exactly how little you care about them— Brittany Ervin (@UnXpected_Ervin) June 7, 2020
What kind of leader are you trying to be? Are you even trying? I couldn’t be more disgusted by a response to this horrific event. What a disappointment - understatement!— Seth McKinney (@SethMcKinney) June 7, 2020
@Reebok @RogueFitness @nike This is a unacceptable comment from one of your brand partners, and another example of atrocious behavior from the leadership at CrossFit. I’m pretty sure they don’t represent your brand values, and I hope you will seriously look into this matter.— Rob Gallaugher (@RobGallaugher) June 7, 2020
But this is infuriating for many reasons. 1st - You went out of your way to pour salt in an open wound.— Matthew J. Williams (@silverback_will) June 7, 2020
2nd - millions of Crossfitters are now painted with the same brush as you.
3rd-1000's of affiliates (that you claim to serve) have been shut down w/ no income for 60 days
@CrossFit @CrossFitGames this is absolutely unacceptable! I call for resignation of @CrossFitCEO, an apology and actions taken to assure the black community and your black members that you support black lives, condemn racism, and will actively engage in anti-racist practices— Melissa McLeod (@MelissaNMcLeod) June 7, 2020
It prompted one CrossFit gym owner Nick Hurndon, who owned a branch in the US state of Oregon, to write an open letter explaining why he was ending his affiliation with the fitness company.
Other CrossFit gyms and employees soon joined in:
@CrossFitCEO we are at a loss reading this response to @IHME_UW. As a 10+ year @CrossFit affiliate that is coming out of 3 months of business closure, we are already struggling. How could you do this to your brand that we pay to be affiliated with? Please help us understand.— CrossFit Fresno (@CrossFitFresno) June 7, 2020
Mr Glassman's tweet also didn't sit well with one of CrossFit's biggest supporters, with Reebok confirming yesterday it was ending its commercial partnership with CrossFit.
"Our partnership with CrossFit HQ comes to an end later this year. Recently, we have been in discussions regarding a new agreement, however, in light of recent events, we have made the decision to end our partnership with CrossFit HQ," Reebok said in a statement to Footwear News.
"We will fulfil our remaining contractual obligations in 2020. We owe this to the CrossFit Games competitors, fans and the community."
Mr Glassman later responded to the criticism by seeming to try and offer further explanation to his original tweet.
"Your failed model quarantined us and now you're going to model a solution to racism? George Floyd's brutal murder sparked riots nationally," he wrote.
"Quarantine alone is 'accompanied in every age and under all political regimes by an undercurrent of suspicion, distrust, and riots.' Thanks!"
Mr Glassman's explanation hasn't quelled the anger many in the CrossFit community feel towards him, with CrossFit star Katrín Davíðsdóttir telling her 1.8 million Instagram followers she was "truly ashamed" by his actions.
Other CrossFit stars including Rich Froning, Samantha Briggs have also called into question their affiliation with headquarters over Mr Glassman's actions.
Ms Briggs has said her "future ties to CrossFit are unclear", while Mr Froning said it was "impossible to stay loyal to leadership who make callous statements that alienate and divide in a time when unity is needed".
Originally published as Single tweet unleashes furious fitness row