In a statement and video posted on Instagram, four-time CrossFit Games Individual Champion and multi-time CrossFit Games Team Champion Rich Froning addressed the recent controversy surrounding Twitter comments made by CrossFit founder Greg Glassman.
“I’m not really sure how to start this. Loyalty is and always has been one of the values I hold strong to and have been anchored in throughout my life. My personal definition of loyalty takes into account and considers imperfection, making mistakes, asking forgiveness, and even showing grace to others who can never seem to get it right. However, my definition of loyalty does have firm boundaries. CrossFit has been something I’ve felt loyalty towards over the past 10 years. While I’ve struggled with some decisions made by CFHQ over the last couple of years and what I’ve felt like have personally alienated some of the people who sacrificed and helped grow its brand. That is nothing compared to what has happened the last couple of days and has made it impossible to stay loyal to leadership who make callous statements that alienate and divide in a time when unity is needed. When I really sit and reflect it hasn’t been CFHQ that I have been loyal to, but the community that supports inclusivity, fitness for all, and health. We will continue to be a part of that community but can no longer be loyal to someone or something that is so far from my own values. While I’m considering what our next steps are we cannot and will not stand with these comments or beliefs.”
Froning is just one of many high-profile CrossFit Games athletes who have made public statements criticizing Glassman’s remarks, which have widely been met in the community as inappropriate. Others in the CrossFit community have expressed support for Glassman and/or cautioned not to assume the full scope of his intentions based on the single tweet reply. But the public response from the CrossFit community, especially among Games athletes and many affiliate owners, has almost certainly trended toward the negative.
Earlier in the day, Reebok announced they would be ending their partnership with CrossFit HQ after their existing contract expires following this year. Froning is a longtime Reebok athlete, though it’s unclear if he communicated with the company before making his statement (or vice versa).
Dozens of CrossFit-affiliated gyms have announced their intent to end their official relationships with CrossFit HQ. Froning did yet not specifically state if his gym — CrossFit Mayhem in Cookeville, Tennessee — would be taking that step.
2008 CrossFit Games Champion and NCFIT founder Jason Khalipa, however, did announce his organization would be ending their official relationship with CrossFit: “In light of recent events and on-going concerns about the direction of CrossFit, NCFIT will no longer maintain our affiliation with the brand.”
Featured image: @RichFroning on Instagram