It only takes one insensitive tweet nowadays to bring down the reputation of an entire company. This weekend, CrossFit was the topic of this modern ‘cancel culture’ after its CEO Greg Glassman made insensitive comments on social media. In turn, it was detrimental to the fitness brand as major sponsors and athletes boycott the company. Today, adidas-owned, Reebok, announced it would cut ties with CrossFit after a 10-year partnership.
The tweet in question is a response to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation as it called racism a public health issue, where Glassman says, “It’s Floyd-19.”
— Greg Glassman (@CrossFitCEO) June 6, 2020
To make matters worse, he followed up the response on Sunday morning with, “Your failed model quarantined us and now you’re going to model a solution to racism?” he wrote in his second reply.
Glassman then apologised via the company’s Twitter saying he made a mistake. “My heart is deeply saddened by the pain it has caused. It was a mistake, not racist but a mistake.” It seems however, the backlash caused is irreversible with Reebok swiftly ending its dealings with CrossFit as a main sponsor and licensee of CrossFit apparel.
“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,” the sports apparel brand told Business Insider. “We will fulfil our remaining contractual obligations in 2020. We owe this to the CrossFit Games competitors, fans and the community.”
Gyms such as CrossFit Magnus and Petworth Fitness also announced they would end affiliations with CrossFit. In addition, four-time CrossFit Games champion Rich Froning Jr said on Instagram it was “impossible to stay loyal to leadership who make callous statements that alienate and divide in a time when unity is needed.”
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I’m not really sure how to start this. Loyalty is and always has been one of the values I hold strong to and have been anchored in throughout my life. My personal definition of loyalty takes into account and considers imperfection, making mistakes, asking forgiveness, and even showing grace to others who can never seem to get it right. However, my definition of loyalty does have firm boundaries. CrossFit has been something I’ve felt loyalty towards over the past 10 years. While I’ve struggled with some decisions made by CFHQ over the last couple of years and what I’ve felt like have personally alienated some of the people who sacrificed and helped grow its brand. That is nothing compared to what has happened the last couple of days and has made it impossible to stay loyal to leadership who make callous statements that alienate and divide in a time when unity is needed. When I really sit and reflect it hasn’t been CFHQ that I have been loyal to, but the community that supports inclusivity, fitness for all, and health. We will continue to be a part of that community but can no longer be loyal to someone or something that is so far from my own values. While I’m considering what our next steps are we cannot and will not stand with these comments or beliefs.