CrossFit CEO's Racist Tweet Prompts Many Gyms — and Reebok — to Cut Ties with the Brand

Athletes, brands and hundreds of gyms are ending their affiliations with CrossFit after the fitness company’s CEO Greg Glassman tweeted a racist remark about George Floyd and Black Lives Matter.

After the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation shared a statement on Twitter about the Black Lives Matter movement and why “racism is a public health issue,” Glassman replied, “It’s FLOYD-19." Glassman was referencing the worldwide protests that began after Floyd was killed while in police custody on May 25, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Glassman’s tweet of June 6 set off an outcry among the thousands of CrossFit gym members, owners, professional athletes and many of the brands that have long been affiliated with CrossFit. Reebok, which has been the exclusive maker of all official CrossFit apparel and the title sponsor of the annual CrossFit games for the last 10 years, said that they would drop their affiliation once their contract ends this year.

“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 fulfill our remaining contractual obligations in 2020. We owe this to the CrossFit Games competitors, fans and the community.”

Several other sponsors, including Rogue, which manufacturers barbells and other weightlifting equipment used in CrossFit, have also dropped their partnerships.

And as of Monday morning, at least 300 gyms have dropped their CrossFit affiliation and changed their names, according to a Google Spreadsheet that began circulating on Reddit. In New York City, for example, CrossFit Greenpoint has switched their name to Greenpoint Athletics and CrossFit Queens has become Community Fitness of Queens. Many others are still deciding on a new name.

Professional CrossFit athletes have spoken out against Glassman’s tweet and a growing list have said that they will not continue to support the organization unless they take further action to support the Black community, Morning Chalk Up reported. Five athletes have said that they will decline their invitation to the 2020 CrossFit Games if there is not further action.

As the wave of deaffiliations started, Glassman tweeted out an apology from the main CrossFit account where he claimed that his comments were out of “anger” about the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s statement.

“I, CrossFit HQ, and the CrossFit community will not stand for racism. 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.

Prior to Glassman’s tweet, CrossFit was already getting criticism for staying silent about Floyd’s death and the Black Lives Matter protest while other brands and gyms shared statements of support. On Saturday, many gyms did a special workout in honor of Floyd, created by Stacy Pugh of Black Power Cleans Lifting Club, “to uplift, honor, and acknowledge the black CrossFit community” in opposition to CrossFit’s silence.

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