LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Louisville area gyms that pay to use the CrossFit brand are putting distance between their local businesses and the national company’s former CEO, Greg Glassman.
Glassman recently criticized a global health research group for calling racism a public health issue. In a post on Twitter, Glassman sarcastically called the idea “Floyd-19,” referring to the name of George Floyd who was killed by Minneapolis Police during an arrest.
Glassman resigned Tuesday.
Derby City CrossFit dropped its affiliation a day before the CEO resigned, posting a statement on Facebook that read, “We owe it to the Derby City Community to offer better leadership than what CrossFit is willing to provide.”
“He (Glassman) made some racist and insensitive comments not only to the black community but also to other owners,” Derby City CrossFit co-owner Slater Coe said, “and we expected better leadership for someone that’s going to be overseeing our CrossFit brand.”
CrossFit members at Coe’s gym were also critical of the former national CEO.
“We think it's an awful thing to say,” Gabbi Greenwald said. “Here at Derby City we welcome all walks of life, race, color, sexual orientation, anything. We are like family here. We just don't put anybody out like that.”
“It's everything that CrossFit really isn't,” Rachel Smoot said. “So it's kind of frustrating as a member. Especially since part of our membership is going to this individual saying this, which we don't agree with that.”
Glassman’s resignation came after days of criticism from gym owners around the country, frustrated by the company’s silence and lack of support for recent demonstrations.
The former CEO released a statement on the company website as he resigned that said, “I created a rift in the CrossFit community and unintentionally hurt many of its members.”
“This,” Coe said, “is definitely a final straw of if you're not going to help us succeed and help our communities be stronger, more inclusive, then we just don't need you.”
Another Louisville area gym, CrossFit Bluegrass, said on Facebook it was “disheartened” by the comments of the former CEO and said “We are better than that, we are Bluegrass.”
The statement did not mention plans to cut ties to the national brand.
A lengthy message on the CrossFit company website offered multiple apologies to its members and the black community.
It described its message as “late, long and imperfect.”