Backlash over George Floyd tweet forces out CrossFit founder

By MATT OTT

(AP) The CEO of CrossFit is stepping down after his tweet about George Floyd sparked a social media backlash and led to affiliated gyms and Reebok cutting ties with the exercise brand.

Greg Glassman said in a statement late Tuesday that he decided to retire, saying he has created a rift in the CrossFit community and unintentionally hurt many of its members.

Glassman had apologized earlier for tweets that sparked online outrage by connecting Floyd and the coronavirus pandemic.

He said he made a mistake and should have been more sensitive but denied being racist.

“On Saturday I created a rift in the CrossFit community and unintentionally hurt many of its members,” Glassman said. “I cannot let my behavior stand in the way of HQ’s or affiliates’ missions.”

Glassman’s exit may have been sealed after Buzzfeed posted a Zoom call he held with some CrossFit affiliates in which Glassman reportedly said: “We’re not mourning for George Floyd — I don’t think me or any of my staff are.” Buzzfeed said it received the recording through its anonymous tip line.

The Zoom call took place hours before Glassman made a glib response on Twitter to a post by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, a health research group, which said, “Racism is a public health issue.”

“ It’s FLOYD-19,” he replied Saturday, and in a second tweet criticized the group’s “failed” quarantine model and accused it of attempting to “model a solution to racism.”

Some 1,250 gyms have now severed links with CrossFit, according to industry blog Morning Chalk Up, including at least CODE:541 in Bend.

An anonymously-curated Google spreadsheet lists hundreds of CrossFit affiliates with links to their social media accounts, with most saying they have cut ties, or are considering doing so.

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