As CrossFit CEO Greg Glassman has been forced to reckon with the consequences of his racist statements on social media, author and YouTuber Hank Green has a humorous take on the odd turn of events that led to Reebok and a number of affiliate gyms and athletes to sever ties with CrossFit altogether.
Green laughed in a tweet Monday about what a "twist" it was that CrossFit had launched a "faux-edu" Twitter account to argue against COVID-19 lockdown policies, but after being "completely ignored," Glassman threw a "tantrum" and tweeted a racist joke, which resulted in the loss of sponsors and franchisees.
The part where CrossFit launched a faux-edu twitter account (primarily to argue against the COVID lockdown) that was completely ignored so the CEO had a tantrum and tweeted a terrible, racist joke to the IHME and lost the support of his sponsors and franchisees was a twist.— Hank Green (@hankgreen) June 8, 2020
The backlash first came when Glassman responded to a tweet from the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, in which the institute declared racism and discrimination critical public health issues. Glassman responded in turn, "It's FLOYD-19," referencing George Floyd, the 46-year-old black man killed by police in Minneapolis on May 25. His death, which came after close to nine minutes of now-fired police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on his neck amid pleas that he couldn't breathe, has sparked Black Lives Matter protests worldwide. Chauvin is facing a second-degree murder charge, and the three other officers involved in the arrest are also facing lesser charges.
Glassman also posted a lengthy message to the institute about racism. "Your failed model quarantined us and now you're going to model a solution to racism?" he tweeted Sunday. "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!"
After swift backlash from his sponsors and franchisees, with CrossFit's name even being dropped from the upcoming Rogue Invitational, Glassman issued an apology. "I, CrossFit HQ, and the CrossFit community will not stand for racism," he wrote, saying he had "made a mistake" in the words he chose the use. The CEO continued that his "heart is deeply saddened" at causing pain with what he said, his remarks were a "mistake."
He then doubled down on his criticism of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, saying he found their modeling about the "racial crisis" to be without merit, which made him "incredulous, angry, and overly emotional." While he admitted that using Floyd's name so flippantly was "wrong," Glassman wrote he hopes Floyd's "murder catalyzes real change resulting in a level playing field for our black brothers and sisters."