Former CrossFit CEO Greg Glassman has been recorded on a Zoom call saying “we’re not mourning for George Floyd. I don’t think me or any of my staff are”.
The recording, obtained by BuzzFeed, hears Glassman dismiss sympathy for Floyd, a black man whose death at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis has sparked outrage and protests across the US, as “the white thing to do”.
The Zoom call was first reported on June 8, via a blog post by Dr Mike Young, a sports scientist and performance coach, who was on the call.
Young wrote: “While Glassman was not outright racist (in so much as he did not use the “N” word or say that Floyd deserved to die), the most gracious description I can give is that he was tone deaf, insensitive and in denial.”
The news of the full recording, confirming Young’s blog post, comes hours after Glassman stood down from his position because of a controversial tweet. Glassman tweeted “It’s FLOYD-19”, in reference to Floyd and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Glassman was responding to a tweet by the Institution for Health Metrics and Evaluation about racism and public health, later adding a second comment: “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!”
Glassman was quickly condemned. Athletes, sponsors and gyms dropped their affiliation with CrossFit, or threatened to do so until there was a change in leadership. Glassman has been replaced by Dave Castro.
Greg Glassman retires. Dave Castro to assume role as CEO of CrossFit, Inc. https://t.co/QOj6XTYuFt— CrossFit (@CrossFit) June 9, 2020
The 75-minute Zoom call was between 16 affiliate gyms and staff members, and took place last Saturday, a few hours before the tweet, according to BuzzFeed. Glassman said he did not think there was much mourning at all in the CrossFit community for Floyd.
“We’re not mourning for George Floyd. I don’t think me or any of my staff are. 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,” he said to a Minneapolis gym owner, when asked why CrossFit had not made a statement on the widespread protests that resulted from Floyd’s death.
Glassman then went on wild tangents, spouting conspiracy theories, even alleging Floyd and the police officer who killed him were under investigation by the FBI for money-laundering via a nightclub.
“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,” Glassman said, adding he has friends in the FBI.
Glassman then criticised the protesters who had taken to looting or burning businesses: “I would prefer a trial of a murderer rather than burning the city down.”
Glassman added that Floyd’s death, setting fires and black-on-black murders are all wrong. He continued on his tirade, discussing defunding the police as “terrifying”.
Glassman moved on to the coronavirus, blaming the Chinese government for purposely releasing it. He riled against the lockdown and urged gym owners to pretend to shut, while continuing as normal.
“Absolute panic right from the start. And I think it’s inevitable that it’s going to turn out that this has cost way more lives than have been saved. Way more,” he said. “At some point, you’ve got to do what’s right, and it may not come with approval. It may not be seen as the right thing to do, but you still have to do it. It’s the burden.
“I was asked by the Italians, ‘What would you do, coach?’ And I said, ‘I would agree to any restrictions put on me by the health authorities, and I would open my gym, and then 10 minutes later I would do whatever the f**k I wanted. That’s what I would do.”
When one gym owner said they were considering dropping their affiliation with CrossFit, another CrossFit HQ staff member came to Glassman’s defence, saying: “You’re not even approaching this with any compassion. You’re approaching this strictly with your agenda. Do you know how many black people are going to be saved by CrossFit?”