Reebok ends its partnership with fitness brand CrossFit over founder Greg Glassman tweet demeaning killing of George Floyd.
Reebok ends its partnership with fitness brand CrossFit, launching a series of cancellations by joint ventures and athletes. The separation follows the insensitive tweet of CrossFit founder Greg Glassman.
After the Health Metric and Assessment Agency classified racism as a public health issue, Glassman asked, “This is FLOYD-19.”
CrossFit’s deaf millet
CrossFit, the national fitness and lifestyle brand, has been particularly quiet as countless organizations have expressed clear support for the nationwide protests following the killing of George Floyd.
Despite its public support for CrossFit Veterans at Memorial Day and the LGBT community amid Pride Month, it has made some comments on racial justice, or outright support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
On June 6, the Health Metrics and Evaluation Agency (IHME) tweeted, “Racism and discrimination are important public health issues that demand an emergency response,” adding the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter.
In response to that tweet, Glassman published his “It’s Floyd-19”, which incorporates the name of George Floyd, whose death at the hands of a police officer caused massive protests against police brutality with COVID-19, a coronavirus virus. It has already affected CrossFit financially.
Glassman has previously stated that he considers the IHME exaggerated in its response to the global epidemic.
Reebok took Swift Action
A few days after the initial tweet, Reebok announced that it was cutting ties with the CrossFit brand, ending an exclusive 10-year deal, including Reebok as a major licensee for CrossFit Clothing.
“Our partnership with CrossFit Headquarters is due to end later this year,” Reebok explained in a statement.
“Recently, we have been involved in discussions on a new contract, however, in light of recent events, we have decided to terminate our partnership with CrossFit headquarters.”
Others follow suit
Other brands and athletes quickly followed Reebok’s lead in denouncing CrossFit and shutting down partnerships.
Seattle-based Rocket CrossFit has announced that it has joined the franchise. Alyssa Royce, the owner of the gym, later issued an awkward email from Glassman in which she accused him of doing her best to “label us racist,” which, Glassman argues, was “a complete bull**t.”
But Royce is not alone in the fitness world. Some 200 gyms are now tied to the CrossFit brand amid the PR disaster. Rogue Fitness, which supplies equipment to CrossFit Games, says it will not put the CrossFit logo on its products during production.
Rogue said it is still in discussion with event organizers on the best way to respond.
Also, athletes Rich Froning, Tia-Claire Toomey and Noah Olson have denounced the club mans opinion and have been reluctant to participate in sports.
Greg Glassman, who founded CrossFit 20 year ago, addressed the controversy on the CrossFit Twitter account.
“I, CrossFit HQ, and the CrossFit community will not stand for racism. I made a mistake with the words I chose yesterday. My heart is deeply saddened by the pain it has caused. It was a mistake, not racist but a mistake.”
Explaining the reason for his initial tweet, he wrote: “I 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 modelling a solution to our racial crisis, I was incredulous, angry, and overly emotional.”
All tweets in question are still up on Twitter.