Nicole Carroll, director of certification and training at CrossFit Inc., has resigned over a tweet by CEO Greg Glassman that has caused widespread condemnation. Caroll trained with Glassman in the early days of CrossFit before becoming one of its executive staff members.
But she now believes “a line has been drawn to where each of us will be held accountable for words that do not represent who we have been”, according to an email obtained by CrossFit website the Morning Chalk Up.
Glassman tweeted “It’s FLOYD-19”, referring to George Floyd, killed by a white police office, and the Covid-19 pandemic. He was replying to a post by the Institution for Health Metrics and Evaluation that discussed the link between public health and racism.
Glassman added: “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!”
Sponsors, including Reebok and Rogue, quickly dropped CrossFit and the top athletes threatened to boycott the Games unless there was a change in leadership. Glassman backtracked on the use of Floyd to make his point, but his apology was hollow.
“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,” he wrote as part of a long thread, this time through the official CrossFit account and not his own.
For Carroll, the damage was done.
“Unfortunately, a line has been drawn to where each of us will be held accountable for words that do not represent who we have been,” she wrote in her email.
“Our loyalties will come into conflict with our values; individually and as a community. We will be subjected to defend ourselves against all manner of attacks. The pain and lived reality of the black community has been mocked, and the sincere hurt, confusion, anxiety & hopelessness that I know many of you feel over current events has been disregarded.”
“At a time of the greatest economic and social instability this country has seen in our lifetime, you have been put in the unconscionable position of having to choose between your livelihood and aligning with something you do not believe in, with a diminishment of what we stand for. In my greatest of conscience, I cannot stand with that,” Carroll said.
Carroll is the first CrossFit employee to take a stand. Meanwhile, athletes have declared their desire for change, or at least condemned the tweet, and hundreds of gyms have said they will cease their affiliation. But there has been no communication from CrossFit Inc. since the non-apology tweet and no staff have taken a public stand until now.