CrossFit founder and CEO resigns amid controversy over his George Floyd comments

CrossFit gym in Rome
(Image credit: Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images)

CrossFit founder and chief executive Greg Glassman resigned Tuesday night, saying in a statement he had "decided to retire" because he "created a rift in the CrossFit community and unintentionally hurt many of its members" on Saturday.

Reebok announced it was cutting ties with CrossFit on Sunday after a tweet Glassman posted Saturday equating the coronavirus pandemic and the protests over the police killing of George Floyd. "It's FLOYD-19," he tweeted over a post calling racism a public health issue. Glassman apologized for that tweet, saying he "should have been sensitive" to the fact that "Floyd is a hero in the black community and not just a victim." But hour earlier, he had let rip on Floyd in a private Zoom call with gym owners, and that was evidently the final straw. He resigned hours after BuzzFeed News posted parts of the recording.

"We're not mourning for George Floyd — I don't think me or any of my staff are," Glassman told a group of 16 affiliated gyms and staff members. "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 challenged a Minneapolis gym owner. Glassman also floated a conspiracy theory about Floyd being silenced by a counterfeit currency ring, and others about the COVID-19 pandemic. Glassman also profanely insisted he is not racist and slammed a Seattle gym owner who had published an email from Glassman chewing her out for trying to "brand us as racist" when "you know it's bulls--t."

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Gym owners were threatening to sever ties by the end of the call, which a North Carolina gym owner described to BuzzFeed as "surreal" and "bats--t crazy."

CrossFit issued its own statement Tuesday night calling Glassman's comments "incredibly insensitive and hurtful" but urging critics to be "thorough in your review of a man who is imperfect but sincere in his love of helping others to become better."

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at TheWeek.com, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.