Greg Glassman, the founder of fitness and lifestyle program CrossFit, announced he was “retiring” after creating a rift in the community with racist comments about the death of George Floyd that cost the company at least one major sponsor.
The backlash started over the weekend, when Glassman responded to a tweet about racism being a public health issue.
— Greg Glassman (@CrossFitCEO) June 6, 2020
After a swift public outcry, athletes, gyms, and brands began distancing themselves, according to Business Insider. Most notably, Reebok cancelled its partnership with the company, saying in a statement that “in light of recent events, we have made the decision to end our partnership with CrossFit HQ.”
But it seems the tweet that started it all was just the tip of the iceberg. On Tuesday, BuzzFeed News reported that hours before the tweet, Glassman said even more disturbing things about Floyd during a private Zoom call with affiliate gym owners.
“We’re not mourning for George Floyd—I don’t think me or any of my staff are,” Glassman said, according to a recording of the meeting sent to the secure BuzzFeed News tipline.
“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,” he said, according to BuzzFeed, in response to a question about why the company hadn’t released a statement regarding Floyd’s death. “I doubt very much that [the protesters are] mourning for Floyd. I don’t think that there’s a general mourning for Floyd in any community.”
Later that day, Glassman announced in a statement on CrossFit’s website that he was stepping aside for the good of the company:
“I’m stepping down as CEO of CrossFit Inc., and I have decided to retire. On Saturday I created a rift in the CrossFit community and unintentionally hurt many of its members,” he said “I cannot let my behavior stand in the way of HQ’s or affiliates’ missions. They are too important to jeopardize.”
CrossFit also posted an apology, saying Glassman’s remarks were “insensitive and hurtful” but stopped short of calling them racist.
“Please accept our deepest apology for contributing to the pain and confusion permeating our community—a community we love and respect for its vibrancy, strength of spirit, and diversity,” the post stated. “We cannot change what has happened, but we ask for forgiveness while we thoroughly examine ourselves.”