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CrossFit CEO Greg Glassman resigns after coronavirus, George Floyd tweets spark outrage

CrossFit CEO Greg Glassman announced Tuesday that he will resign from his position and retire, days after his tweets about the coronavirus and the death of George Floyd sparked outrage nationwide. Glassman said he can't let his actions hurt the company's mission, which he described as "too important to jeopardize."

"On Saturday I created a rift in the CrossFit community and unintentionally hurt many of its members," Glassman said in a statement. "Since I founded CrossFit 20 years ago, it has become the world's largest network of gyms. All are aligned in offering an elegant solution to the vexing problem of chronic disease. Creating CrossFit and supporting its affiliates and legions of professional trainers has been a labor of love."

"Those who know me know that my sole issue is the chronic disease epidemic," he added. "I know that CrossFit is the solution to this epidemic and that CrossFit HQ and its staff serve as the stewards of CrossFit affiliates worldwide. I cannot let my behavior stand in the way of HQ's or affiliates' missions. They are too important to jeopardize."

The controversy began on Saturday, when the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation tweeted, "Racism and discrimination are critical public health issues that demand an urgent response," along with the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter.

Glassman responded: "It's Floyd-19."

"Your failed model quarantined us and now you're going to model a solution to racism?" he said in a subsequent tweet. "George Floyd's brutal murder sparked riots nationally. Quarantine alone is 'accompanied in every age and under all political regimes by an undercurrent of suspicion, distrust, and riots.' Thanks!"

Glassman apologized for the tweets on Sunday, writing "I, CrossFit HQ, and the CrossFit community will not stand for racism. I made a mistake by 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."

"I was trying to stick it to the @IHME_UW for their invalidated models resulting in needless, economy-wrecking, life-wrecking lockdown," he added. "Involving George Floyd's name in that effort was wrong."

But his apology came too late for some. Reebok told CBS News on Monday that it was ending its partnership with CrossFit HQ, and many CrossFit affiliates said they would end their relationship with the national program. His comments also drew ire from a number of prominent CrossFit athletes, some of whom said they wouldn't participate in the organization's annual CrossFit Games unless "major changes" were made.

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My participation in the 2020 @crossfitgames will be contingent upon major changes being made. ⁣ ⁣ I LOVE competing, I LOVE training, I LOVE being able to challenge myself and become better from it. ⁣ ⁣ I also LOVE people.⁣ ⁣ This is probably the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. It’s been weighing on me for days. I’ve consulted many of my closest supporters. All of that said, I’ve decided that I cannot, in good conscience, compete during this time for a company that hasn’t shown themselves to have values that I align with. ⁣ ⁣ I’ve been talking a lot about this movement and my strong desire to stand up and fight for equality. Right now, I’m taking action. The repercussions of this could be huge. I’ve weighed them and my belief in this is stronger than their potential outcomes.

A post shared by Noah Ohlsen (@nohlsen) on

Dave Castro, the current director of the CrossFit Games, will replace Glassman as CEO, he said in a statement on the CrossFit website.

"CrossFit is a community — one that is global, diverse, and tough. Every person in our community shares a common bond," Castro said. "We are all dedicated to a visionary, transformative approach to health and fitness. Our individual passions for that approach have forged an enduring community."

"Our community is hurt, though. Our shared bond brings together millions of people with differing opinions, viewpoints, and experiences. Friction is inevitable," he added. "Common ground, mutual respect, and fellowship must also be inevitable. I'm honored to take on the role of CEO of CrossFit, Inc. I hope to do right by affiliates, trainers, athletes, and other members of the CrossFit community around the world and never lose sight of the mission Greg established for us all."

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