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The Collapse of CrossFit

Sponsors, affiliated gyms, and athletes are cutting ties with CrossFit following a controversial tweet from company founder and (former) CEO Greg Glassman about the death of George Floyd.

What he said: On Saturday, Mr. Glassman responded to a tweet that said: “Racism and discrimination are critical public health issues that demand an urgent response.” He tweeted in reply, “It’s Floyd-19.”

The fallout: Glassman’s tweet drew a swift response on social media. The backlash has only intensified in the days since:

  • Reebok, the official CrossFit outfitter and a major sponsor of the CrossFit Games, will not extend its 10-year partnership.
  • Rogue Fitness will remove CrossFit’s branding from an upcoming fitness competition.
  • 50+ others, including NOBULLWIT Fitness, and FITAID disassociated from CrossFit.
  • 1100+ CrossFit gyms have ended their affiliation with the brand or plan to if Glassman doesn’t step down.
  • CrossFit athletes spoke out against Glassman, with some refusing to compete if he remains in place.

The fallout: Glassman initially apologized for his tweet, but the controversy rages on. Next, Buzzfeed News uncovered a Zoom call wherein Glassman can be heard saying: “We’re not mourning for George Floyd.” Glassman then resigned, handing the reins over to Dave Castro, a longtime CrossFit staffer.  That move proved short-lived.

On June 20, the New York Times dropped a scathing report, detailing sexist company culture inside CrossFit. By June 24, Eric Roza emerged as the incoming owner and CEO of CrossFit.

Punchline: Now, more than ever, everyone’s watching how brands handle the problems of racial injustice and sexism. Actions speak louder than words, and CrossFit is learning this lesson the hard way. Whether or not Roza can right the ship is a story we’ll be tracking.