FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) - When CrossFit Immersion in Coral Springs hoisted the Black Lives Matter and Pride flags in the gym last month, they received some blowback they're weren't expecting.
Reading one of several text messages she received, co-owner Rachel Handfinger said, "Good Morning Rachel. I'm sorry to say I'm very disturbed by the new signs hanging in the gym. I can not work out with political statements."
The flags are very personal for the gym owners. Co-owners Adam Nadler's grandfather was gay but was never able to come out and celebrate his relationship with his partner of 50 years. Nadler also has bi-racial children.
"My kids are my world and to make sure they know what I stand for and what's important and not to be silent for them and what they could possibly go through," he said.
Fourteen members left the gym, many calling the flags political statements they did not agree with.
Then something unexpected happened. Sixteen people signed up and then another surprise. The Miami Heat got wind of what was going on.
"As soon as we saw that at the Heat, we knew we had to come out and support Adam and Rachel," said Michael McCullough, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for the team.
On Tuesday, mascot Burnie and the Heat brought lots of swag for gym members. But more than that, they brought their support.
"These are not political issues. This is about people, people of color, people of different sexual orientations, it shouldn't matter, but unfortunately, it does. So when we see that sort of injustice, unequal treatment, we want to jump right in," McCullough said.
"As they said, from the executives to the players, from the top down, they have supported us, gave us their support to be on the right side of history, as they say, it truly means a ton for us," said Nadler.
With the gym feeling the Heat and their support, there's a new addition joining the Black Lives Matter and Pride flags - a Miami Heat flag is flying too.
"They have, probably, so many other things to do than to worry about a small gym way up in Coral Springs. When they saw our story run and they said it really means something and it's close to their heart and come out and give us their support, I couldn't be happier," Nadler said.
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