By: Hellen Zaboulani
The chief executive officer and founder of CrossFit Gyms, Greg Glassman, announced last Tuesday night, that he would be resigning his role at the company. The move comes after days of unrest at the fitness company. As reported by the NY Times, he was on a zoom call, where he had said, “We’re not mourning for George Floyd, I don’t think me or any of my staff are.” “Can you tell me why I should mourn for him?” Glassman added. “Other than it’s the ‘white’ thing to do. I get that pressure but give me another reason.”
The CEO’s politically incorrect remarks are now costing him his post. “I created a rift in the CrossFit community and unintentionally hurt many of its members,” said Mr. Glassman on Tuesday in a statement. He will be replaced by Dave Castro, a longtime CrossFit executive. Glassman will maintain his ownership stake.
CrossFit, founded in 2000, is one of the biggest fitness brands, boasting over 6,000 affiliate gyms in the country, or 14,000 gyms across the globe. The aforementioned Zoom call had included over a dozen people, including gym owners and employees of the corporate office. The call was Glassman’s way of checking in with owners whose gyms have been shuttered due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In the call, Glassman had turned his attention to Hannah Wydeven, the owner of Solcana Fitness, a CrossFit gym in Minneapolis, close to where Mr. Floyd died, asking if they were close to reopening. “Our community is reeling,” the owner had said. “People are in mourning.” “I don’t think we’ve seen anything come out from CrossFit headquarters in terms of our response to that situation.” This is when Glassman had made his comments about not mourning for Floyd.
After the infamous statements on the call, Glassman had also made a faux pas on social media. Asked for a statement in support of Black Lives Matter, he had tweeted, “It’s FLOYD-19.” This set off a public outcry, and prompted an apology from Glassman the next day. “I made a mistake by the words I chose yesterday,” he said in a statement. “My heart is deeply saddened by the pain it has caused. It was a mistake, not racist but a mistake.” Nevertheless, by Tuesday, close to 1,200 of the affiliate gyms said they planned to separate from the CrossFit brand.
Even before the zoom or social media statements though, some affiliates were already pointing a finger at Glassman for the company’s relative lack of response to Mr. Floyd’s death. Back in June 5th, Alyssa Royse, the owner of Rocket CrossFit in Seattle, had published an email exchange she had with HQ on her on her gym’s blog. In it, she notified an executive who works for Glassman, that she would be disaffiliating her business from CrossFit because of “CrossFit’s failure to take a stand in a time of moral crisis in the US.” Mr. Glassman had personally responded to that email, writing, “I sincerely believe the quarantine has adversely impacted your mental health” and “I am ashamed of you.”