The CEO and founder of CrossFit has announced his retirement following backlash to comments he made about coronavirus policies and the death of George Floyd.
Greg Glassman announced his retirement on the company’s website, saying: “On Saturday I created a rift in the CrossFit community and unintentionally hurt many of its members.”
The comments in question came in a response to a tweet by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which labeled racism and discrimination as “critical public health issues that demand an urgent response.”
Glassman responded to the tweet with: “It’s FLOYD-19.”
— Greg Glassman (@CrossFitCEO) June 6, 2020
He followed this up with a few more tweets, criticizing the public health orders around the pandemic. He said:
“George Floyd’s brutal murder sparked riots nationally. Quarantine alone is ‘accompanied in every age and under all political regimes by an undercurrent of suspicion, distrust, and riots.’ Thanks!”
Your failed model quarantined us and now you're going to model a solution to racism? George Floyd's brutal murder sparked riots nationally. Quarantine alone is "accompanied in every age and under all political regimes by an undercurrent of suspicion, distrust, and riots." Thanks!
— Greg Glassman (@CrossFitCEO) June 7, 2020
After these tweets, Reebok, a massive sponsor, as well as affiliated gyms, dropped their partnership with CrossFit.
On Sunday evening, CrossFit put out a statement that it said was from Glassman, that read:
“I, CrossFit HQ, and the CrossFit community will not stand for racism. I made a mistake by the words I chose yesterday. My heart is deeply saddened by the pain it has caused. It was a mistake, not racist but a mistakeI was trying to stick it to the @IHME_UW for their invalidated models resulting in needless, economy-wrecking, life-wrecking lockdown, and when I saw they were announcing modeling a solution to our racial crisis, I was incredulous, angry, and overly emotional. Involving George Floyd’s name in that effort was wrong.”
CrossFit Headquarters also apologized in a letter this week about it failing to publicly address the issues raised by Floyd’s death.
“We pride ourselves on authenticity and truth, but we got it wrong by failing to tell you we really care about black people and support the need for real change.”
“We weren’t sure how to get the message right, and as a result, we failed catastrophically by not effectively communicating care for the Black community, all as the online world was watching and experiencing extreme pain.”
BuzzFeed also reported this week that hours before he made the comments online, Glassman made some comments to gym owners in a private Zoom call that seemed to be pushing back on the expectation that he should be mourning Floyd’s death or that the company should make a statement about it. According to the report, Glassman said:
“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.”
Glassman is not the only person to face criticism and backlash for comments made during this time, as just last week New Orleans Saints quarterback, Drew Brees, drew the ire of many for commenting on disrespecting the flag.
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