Glassman, who co-founded the fitness regimen in 2000, announced his resignation on Tuesday following a week of turmoil for the company. Not only did Glassman face backlash for making light of the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who recently died while in white police custody, but also telling gym owners “we’re not mourning for Floyd,” according to Buzzfeed News.
In a statement posted to CrossFit’s website, Glassman declared his retirement and apologized for creating a “rift in the CrossFit community” and “unintentionally” hurting its members.”
“I cannot let my behavior stand in the way of HQ’s or affiliates’ missions ,” he wrote. “They are too important to jeopardize.”
His resignation comes just days after posting several controversial tweets linking Floyd’s death and COVID-19.
Protesters took to the streets after a video showed now-former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressing his knee into the back of Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes as the 46-year-old begged for air. Activists have since demanded justice for Floyd and systemic police reform.
Glassman hopped on Twitter Saturday to criticize the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation for claiming racism is a “public health issue.” He wrote back with the phrase, “Floyd-19.”
The CEO apologized for his tweets the next day, explaining that they were “not racist but a mistake.” He added that “the CrossFit community will not stand for racism.”
For many gym-owners, brand partners and athletes, the apology was not enough.
Here’s what you need to know about Glassman.
1. Glassman Said ‘We are Not Mourning Floyd’ to Gym Owners Days Before Resigning
Prior to posting his controversial tweets on Saturday, Glassman spoke with roughly 16 affiliate owners and company executives on Zoom.
A gym owner from Minneapolis, Minnesota, the city where Floyd was killed, asked why the brand hadn’t yet posted a statement about the protests, according to a copy of the call obtained by Buzzfeed. She expressed that her community and members of her gym were mourning Floyd’s death.
Glassman responded, “We’re not mourning for George Floyd — I don’t think me or any of my staff are.
Adding, “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.”
Many of the owners told CNN they were disappointed by CrossFit’s failure to release a statement in support of the protesters and black athletes.
2. Glassman Expressed Questioned the Motives Behind Protests
Glassman also said during the roughly two-hour call that he thought Floyd’s death “had nothing to do with race,” Buzzfeed reports.
The business man went on to say that he believed it was part of a conspiracy to cover up money laundering.
Glassman, according to Buzzfeed, speculated that a nightclub where both Floyd and his alleged killer worked had “been under investigation by the FBI for over a decade for laundering money.”
“It’s very interesting that George gets popped with counterfeits, and who comes but the head of security from the dance club? Watch: This thing’s going to turn into first-degree murder,” he said during the group call.
“That’s what it’s going to turn into. And it’s going to be because I’m predicting this,” he continued. “We have friends in the FBI in your neighborhood, and they’re of the view that this was first-degree murder and it was to silence him over the counterfeit money. That’s the belief. That’s what the cops think.”
No evidence of such a conspiracy has been reported.
4. Glassman Is Leaving Behind a Fitness Empire
The 63-year-old founded CrossFit 20 years ago with his ex-wife Linda in Santa Cruz, California.
Dedicated to providing workouts based on principles of functional movement and high intensity, the company now boasts over 14,000 affiliate gyms worldwide, Fortune reported.
The company licenses its names to gyms, called “boxes,” for a $3,000 per year fee and charges $1,000 to license an instructor, Fortune continued. It also collects entrance fees for the CrossFit Games, which has been broadcast on ESPN.
Although the privately held CrossFit, Inc. doesn’t disclose it’s financials, Fortune claims its valuations have been estimated as high as $4 billion.
5. Glassman’s Replacement Dave Castro was Caught in an Awkward ‘Diversity’ Encounter Last Year
During a press conference at the 2019 CrossFit Games in August, Castro made a public show of ignoring a question about the organization’s diversity, Buzzfeed found.
Video of the 2019 exchange emerged after Castro, who formerly ran the CrossFit Games program, was appointed as the new CEO.
The clip obtained by Buzzfeed shows Castro onstage with a group of white competitors when a reporter asked about diversity. He smiled silently for 15 seconds and changed the subject before ending the conference.
“Tomorrow morning, the first event will start at the water at 10 a.m.,” Castro said after a lengthy pause. “Teams and individuals are going to do a water event that will start there. Good evening.”
Castro said in a statement on the CrossFit website that he is honored to step into his new role.
“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,” he said.