It comes after Glassman responded to a tweet from the Institute for Metrology and Health Assessment that said in part: “Racism is a public health problem.”
“It’s FLOYD-19,” said Glassman.
The CEO then apologized on his brand’s official Twitter account, writing, “Me, CrossFit HQ, and the CrossFit community will not stand up for racism. I was wrong about 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. ”
Glassman was also criticized after Alyssa Royse, founder of Rocket CrossFit in Seattle, posted an email exchange with the founder. Royse sent a letter informing Glassman that his gym would disaffiliate due to “an inconsistent brand that is losing value, leadership that is absent at a time when leadership is most important, and moral ambiguity that does not match the spirit or our own values. ”
Glassman responded with a sassy email that started with, “I sincerely believe that quarantine has hurt your mental health.”
“You think you are more virtuous than us,” wrote Glassman. ” It’s disgusting. Your branded self-proclaimed witchcraft has been tolerated but has never been considered really thoughtful or effective, but certainly manipulative. You are doing your best to describe us as racists and you know this is bullshit. It makes you a really crappy person. Do you understand that You have allowed your policy to distort into something that seems wrong to me to the point of harm. I’m ashamed of you. ”
Royse and Glassman did not respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment at the time of publication; CrossFit either.
In a midsize article, sports scientist and owner of CrossFit subsidiary Mike Young accused Glassman of spouting coronavirus conspiracy theories during a Zoom conference call and saying, “I don’t cry George Floyd ”, asked about the company’s reaction to the Black Lives Matter movement.
“He actually repeated this exact line several times. He also denied any idea that racism might exist in certain police forces and he appeared to play down racism. ”
Shaw, the owner of the Charleston gymnasium, spoke to the Daily Beast by phone, while customers worked in the background. Their “WOD” – CrossFit-Speak training of the day – was called Big Floyd, a set of rehearsals created by Stacey Pugh. It lasts 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the same time that Derek Chauvin kept his knee on the neck of George Floyd.
Pugh, a 31-year-old cross-school teacher known as @BlackPowerCleans on Instagram, has been practicing CrossFit since 2012. “Whenever I tell people I do, they say,” It’s a white activity. “, did he declare. “I want to highlight black people in the CrossFit community, because there aren’t many black people who do. ”
After Ahmaud Arbery was shot dead while running in Brunswick, Georgia, in February, Pugh noticed that friends on social media were traveling 2.23 miles in honor of his life.
“I thought to myself, ‘Shit, CrossFit HQ is going to mobilize for hero training for Ahmaud,’ said Pugh. “We still do Memorial Day training on behalf of cancer, the police or the fire department, but there is not much recognition of the black lives that have been lost. Not just this year, but never. ”
“I don’t want to take away from the soldiers,” added Pugh. “My father is a retired lieutenant colonel. I just want to say that if we can honor the soldiers, we can also say that the black community is important and that we appreciate and cherish them. ”
Pugh posted the Big Floyd challenge before CrossFit made an official statement about the Black Lives Matter movement. In his Instagram post, he wrote that it was “time to change and build the narrative we want to see as a CrossFit community.”
Pugh played Division I football at Kennesaw State University from 2006 to 2011. After graduating and leaving the team, the exercise couldn’t compare to the camaraderie he felt on the ground. “Nothing has made me so passionate,” said Pugh. “I was running and it was so boring.” He hesitated when a former partner suggested trying CrossFit. “There is a stigma about it being a bit like a cult,” he said. “But I tried it and I was addicted. The workouts were the same adrenaline that I got from football. ”
Pugh said he had a “complicated” relationship with CrossFit. “It is too bad that marginalized communities have to create their own space to feel recognized,” he said. “You should go to the CrossFit Instagram handle and see the equity on their Instagram page, their Facebook page. It’s just not there. “
“There is not a lot of diversity in CrossFit. I’ve had this feeling for a while, and I think CrossFit’s silence was now the straw that broke the back of the camel ”
“I love doing this, I love CrossFit, and I think there is another workout that can make me feel as happy or in good physical and mental shape,” added Pugh. “But it’s contradictory, because I know the world of fitness is super binary. There is not much diversity in CrossFit. I have been feeling this feeling for quite some time, and I think the silence of CrossFit is now the straw that has broken the back of the camel. ”
SayKay Brown and Taryn Pascal are the team behind @IronRootsAthlete, an Instagram page dedicated to “helping POCs improve their health and fitness through strength sports”. They met on social media and have yet to connect in person; Brown lives in Detroit and Pascal is based in Durham, North Carolina.
Brown owns CrossFit HCS and on Monday is considering whether or not to de-affiliate his gym, which is currently closed due to a coronavirus. “There are all these issues that we have to deal with when we are already trying to open up,” said Brown. “Do we have to join to feel better supported? If I don’t disaffiliate, do I support CrossFit? Regardless of what someone ends up doing, it already poses a threat to businesses, as they assess that in addition to literally surviving the current pandemic. ”
Disaffiliation can be a way for a gym to take a stand, but that leads to logistical headaches. “This was accompanied by many questions that we posted on our Instagram page,” said Brown. “Are you putting a letter to disaffiliate yourself?” Will the insurance be canceled immediately? Will we always have the right certifications to coach? I cannot make a decision on Sunday as more information will be released on Sunday evening. ”
The rush to rid the gyms of the CrossFit nickname is understandable, especially since the brand name is burning. But Brown urges customers to stay “patient” while gym owners decide what to do next.
“I want to remind athletes who see big gyms immediately disaffiliate, change this and that, that most gyms are not that big,” she said. “Most gyms don’t have a huge inflow of money and it will take time to realign. We need to think about how we are going to financially support what we believe in. It is certainly a movement for change, but I think everyone should be patient. ”
Pascal added that disaffiliation is just one step an owner can take to make sure their gym is a fair place. “It’s always up to you to think,” What else can I do to help? “”, She added. “Doing a single action will not automatically give people the inclusive space they demand. I believe disaffiliation is a movement, and the inclusion movement is a completely separate thing. It doesn’t match. “
“Knowing there is no one like you and going to a CrossFit gym for the first time is absolutely terrifying”
Brown said that while CrossFit’s response to the Black Lives Matter “sounds crappy,” she was not at all surprised by the message. “Their communication has already been a trash can,” she said. “There is a pretty horrible result there. However, when you have had a relationship for so long and it means a lot to you, the process takes time. Many of us are still in this process and in this position, particularly as affiliate owners. ”
“I am Métis – my mother’s white and my father’s black,” added Pascal. “I’ve always had this question: do I fit in enough? Am I white enough? Am I black enough? Am I enough, in general? Knowing that no one is like you and going to a CrossFit gym for the first time is absolutely terrifying. ”
Elisabeth Akinwale participated in the CrossFit games from 2011 to 2015 and is now training at the 13th Flow in Chicago. She talks about the lack of diversity at CrossFit for years, posting a video on race and society in 2017.
“Whenever I was on a podcast, [the lack of integration in CrossFit] would always come, “Akinwale told the Daily Beast. “It’s like in the classroom when you’re the only black student in the room, and someone mentions a black topic and everyone in the room is watching them. It’s as if I’m the official spokesperson for why it’s so, instead of the powers in place within the organization that’s never taken for granted. ”
After the protests started, Akinwale again shared the video and released a long statement that said, “You believe people when they show you who they are, and I would say the CF is very clear and apologize who they are… Organizations are responsible for establishing their own culture and exercising their own values, which the CF does. My choice was to create the space I need. ”
“It’s really difficult for me to speak to headquarters right now, they are sort of in the niche,” Akinwale told The Daily Beast. “I think it would be great for them to take decisive action to say how they are going to take concrete action to be more inclusive. So when I look at their presence on social media, it’s inclusive, when I look at their list of sponsored athletes, it’s diverse, and when I enter their gymnasium, there is a declaration of values. ”
Sam Leicht, a white Broadway actor and CrossFit trainer, has been practicing the diet for seven years. He remembers being on tour with The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical for eight months, and he wanted to stop at a different gymnasium in each city.
“It made me go back to that strange thing I had in high school, being bullied a little for being gay until I did well in the sport,” said Leicht. “I was entering a new gym on tour, wearing my short shorts and my tank top, not really attentive, and I would definitely get a cooler look from the coaches. Then I start working, and that’s the middle ground. ”
“Most gyms put you at ease -” We don’t know you, but we know CrossFit. “This is the common point,” he added. “This is the part of CrossFit that I try to say so much,” It’s not always like that. “But it’s absolutely part of the culture.”
Also part of the culture: the roots of CrossFit as a training regime for police officers. “I’ve seen many homeowners be very sensitive to this situation,” said Leicht. “If you dwell on brass facts, CrossFit was created as a program for the military, firefighters and cops. I am in a bubble with very liberal people, but there are certainly a lot of non-liberals who do CrossFit. I have the hesitation and I want to support them, but you can always say Black Lives Matter. ”
Leicht and others say the culture cannot change until Glassman resigns from his post. “I don’t think with him at the helm, CrossFit will continue,” said an anonymous gym owner.
“He must resign at this point,” added the owner. “I think it’s a problem of bad leadership. ”
The owner, who has yet to dissociate himself from CrossFit, added that the company’s head office had not sent any letters of comfort or support to gym officials on Monday afternoon.
“There is no benefit in disaffiliating other than making a statement,” said the owner. “The CrossFit community is always stronger together. We are all flagships under this great battleship. It’s the name, it’s the link. Without it, we are certainly weaker and more sensitive to anything that can happen. ”
The owner added that the gymnasium had been closed for three months due to a coronavirus, which was already weighing heavily on the funds. “Our business model is not what it was six months ago,” they said. “Removing the CrossFit flag from our name would significantly reduce our visibility. Not having this large affiliate base to help the community at large would be financially damaging. ”
The gymnasium emailed customers on Sunday, pledging that the team would not support Glassman’s words. “We have received the vast majority of responses saying that they support us no matter what,” said the owner. “But this one says:” Disaffiliate or I quit. “This is what I’m reading right now. ”
—With additional reports from Tarpley Hitt