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Dublin: 11 °C Tuesday 11 August, 2020

CrossFit CEO resigns after outrage over George Floyd comments

A number of companies have cut ties with CrossFit in recent days.

shutterstock_1110781433 File photo Source: Shutterstock/takoburito

CROSSFIT FOUNDER AND CEO Greg Glassman has confirmed he is stepping down after widespread criticism of comments he made about George Floyd.

On Saturday, Glassman tweeted “It’s FLOYD-19” after the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation classified racism and discrimination as a public health issue.

Human rights groups expressed outrage at the tweet, calling it insensitive to current events and the death of Floyd, a black man who died in police custody on 25 May in Minneapolis, Minnesota, after a white officer kneeled on his neck for almost nine minutes.

Floyd’s death has sparked protests in US and other countries including Ireland with protesters calling for the police to be defunded, and for racial inequalities to be recognised and addressed.

Hours before he posted the controversial tweet, Glassman told gym owners on a private Zoom call: “We’re not mourning for George Floyd — I don’t think me or any of my staff are,” according to a recording obtained by BuzzFeed News.

Glassman was also heard sharing conspiracy theories about Floyd and Covid-19 during the call.

‘I created a rift’ 

In a statement issued yesterday, Glassman said: “On Saturday I created a rift in the CrossFit community and unintentionally hurt many of its members.”

He added: “I’m stepping down as CEO of CrossFit, Inc., and I have decided to retire … I cannot let my behavior stand in the way of HQ’s or affiliates’ missions.”

Dave Castro, Director of the CrossFit Games, will replace Glassman as CEO, the company said.

In a statement, Castro said: “Our community is hurt … Our shared bond brings together millions of people with differing opinions, viewpoints, and experiences.

“Friction is inevitable. Common ground, mutual respect, and fellowship must also be inevitable.” 

On Sunday, sports footwear giant Reebok announced it would end its partnership with CrossFit later this year.

Affiliate CrossFit Magnus also decided to cut ties with the Washington DC-based organisation. More than 1,000 affiliated gyms have reportedly left the company, according to a CrossFit newsletter.

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CrossFit has over 13,000 gyms in more than 120 countries, generating some US$4 billion (about €3.5 billion) in annual revenues.

Contains reporting from © AFP 2020  

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Órla Ryan

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