CrossFit CEO Greg Glassman steps down following comments on George Floyd

CrossFit CEO Greg Glassman announced Tuesday that he is stepping down as head of the company in the wake of making numerous insensitive comments about the death of George Floyd. Dave Castro will assume the CEO role, according to a pair of statements the two released.

“I’m stepping down as CEO of CrossFit, Inc., and I have decided to retire,” Glassman said in his statement. “On Saturday I created a rift in the CrossFit community and unintentionally hurt many of its members. Since I founded CrossFit 20 years ago, it has become the world’s largest network of gyms. All are aligned in offering an elegant solution to the vexing problem of chronic disease. Creating CrossFit and supporting its affiliates and legions of professional trainers has been a labor of love.”

Reebok announced that on Monday it was ending its longtime partnership with CrossFit following Glassman’s comments on Twitter in the wake of the death of George Floyd and the protests that have followed. In response to a tweet from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in which they said racism and discrimination are “critical public health issues,” Glassman replied with “It’s FLOYD-19.” 

Floyd was a victim in the most recent incident of police brutality against a black person when he was killed after a Minneapolis police officer was caught on video kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes. The death of Floyd has shaken the country to its core and sparked widespread protests all across the United States and the world. Several athletes have spoken out since Floyd’s death.

Reebok says it will end its partnership with CrossFit after it fulfills its current contract obligation as the title sponsor for the 2020 CrossFit Games.

“Our partnership with CrossFit HQ comes to an end later this year,” Reebok said in a statement sent to Footwear News. Reebok’s statement continued:

“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. We will fulfill our remaining contractual obligations in 2020. We owe this to the CrossFit Games competitors, fans and the community. What doesn’t change is our commitment and dedication to CrossFitters and the passionate CrossFit community. We’re so thankful for the strong bonds we’ve created with coaches, box owners and athletes around the world over the past 10 years.”

Other CrossFit affiliates such as CrossFit Magnus, Petworth Fitness, Rogue and NoBull announced that they would also be ending their affiliations with the company.

Four-time CrossFit Games Individual Champion Rich Froning also criticized Glassman’s remark in a video posted on his Instagram. “The comments made this weekend only divide,” Froning said. “And at this time in the world we live in right now, we don’t need comments or people to divide us even further. We need to come together.”

But that wasn’t the only time the CrossFit CEO decided to take a dive into some problematic language. As BuzzFeed News reported on Tuesday, Glassman told gym owners in a private Zoom call that the organization was “not mourning for George Floyd – I don’t think me or any of my staff are.”

When a gym owner in Minneapolis asked why the company had not put out a statement about the nationwide protests against police brutality following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police, Glassman decided to double-down on his comments and replied, “Can you tell me why I should mourn for him? Other than that it’s the white thing to do – other than that, give me another reason.”

These comments were reportedly made hours before the tweet that caused the public backlash and lost Reebok sponsorship took place.

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