CrossFit CEO and Founder Greg Glassman Sets Off Internet Backlash with “FLOYD-19” Tweet

Glassman tweeted in response to a graphic that read "Racism Is a Public Health Issue."

Update: CrossFit Founder Greg Glassman has released a statement regarding his previous tweets.

On the evening of June 6th, CrossFit Games CEO and Founder Greg Glassman tweeted a two-word reply to an Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation tweet that read “Racism and discrimination are critical public health issues that demand an urgent response. #BlackLivesMatter”

Glassman’s response in full: “It’s FLOYD-19.”

Note: This article has been updated to reflect additional commentary from the fitness community on social media and other outlets. It’s also been updated to reflect Glassman’s additional comments.

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CrossFit Founder and CEO Greg Glassman’s recent Twitter reply to a thread calling racism a public health issue has caused thousands within and outside the CrossFit community to take their thoughts online. Some have said Glassman’s two-word reply might be misinterpreted before further clarification. Others have condemned it as out of touch and highly inappropriate. Among them are @crossfitgames athletes like @katrintanja and @lindybarber. (In their posts, Davidsdottir and Barber also reference several other points of communication from Glassman and CrossFit, not just the tweet. Swipe to see screenshots excerpted from their respective posts.) As of this posting, there has been no additional comment from CrossFit or Glassman on the matter.

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Update: Greg Glassman replied to his previous tweet with another statement.

Your failed model quarantined us and now you’re going to model a solution to racism? 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!

The tweet, which appears to reference both the COVID-19 pandemic and the worldwide protests following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, almost immediately began making the waves on Reddit and social platforms. 

As of this writing, recognizable personalities in the CrossFit Games and general CrossFit communities have begun to react to Glassman’s statements, many expressing shock at the remark as insensitive, disrespectful, and out of touch. Some call for boycotts of CrossFit.

Others on social media expressed support for Glassman and/or cautioned not to assume the full scope of his intentions based on the single tweet reply, saying he may have been making a positive comparison on the relative impact of both the COVID-19 pandemic and the movement surrounding George Floyd’s death. The public response from the CrossFit community, though, has almost certainly trended toward the negative. 

Dani Speegle, CrossFit Games athlete: “I am disappointed. I am shocked. I am disgusted.”

Kels Kiel, CrossFit Games athlete: “I am SPEECHLESS.”

Patrick Vellner, CrossFit Games athlete and podium finisher: “Making a pun about a man recently killed by police brutality was an interesting choice…”

Justin Cotler, multiple-time CrossFit Games coach and affiliate owner (replying to a Facebook thread highlighting Glassman’s tweet): “I’m speechless brother. I’m gonna take the night before I comment to my community so as to be able to temper my emotions a bit. But I don’t want to be involved with CF if this guy continues to be at the helm. His actions are disgusting and dangerous.”

Instagram user @dez519: “Boycott the games. Pull your affiliate. We have enough knowledge and experience to do it without them(CFHQ). At the end of the day what do they provide? A “label”. Opportunity to rebrand. Plus, Who seriously follows CFHQ programming anymore? I’ll wait…”

John Copeland (on a Facebook thread responding to an earlier version of this article): 
“You could interpret that two-word tweet in many different ways.. without letting him explain what he meant we’re gonna jump to “#cancelgregglassman” after all he’s done and created?? 🤦‍♂️ what is wrong with people” … “The imagery of what happened to Floyd ignited the largest civil rights movement the world has ever seen. It’s quickly spread all over the world with participants in many countries. Much like how COVID-19 spread rapidly. Maybe he was agreeing racism is a public health issue, a global health issue even. Or maybe he was being racist. Hard to know from 10 characters that he hasn’t provided clarification for yet.”

Some users began using the hashtag #cancelgregglassman.

Glassman has been outspoken in his thoughts on the COVID-19 pandemic, and CrossFit HQ released a detailed video on their YouTube channel highlighting his remarks. 

To our knowledge, this is Glassman’s first publicly facing comment related to the death of George Floyd, resulting protests, and the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

Featured image: @CrossFitCEO on Twitter

David Tao

David Tao

BarBend’s Co-Founder and Editorial Director, David is a veteran of the health & fitness industry, with nearly a decade of experience building and running editorial teams in the space. He also serves as a color commentator for both National and International weightlifting competitions, many through USA Weightlifting. David graduated from Harvard University and served for several years as Editorial Director/Chief Content Officer of Greatist.com.

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