Katrin Davidsdottir, two-time champion of the CrossFit Games, believes the recent changes to CrossFit’s CEO is not enough in the wake of a scandal. This week, founder Greg Glassman stood down from his post as CEO, following an online outrage centred around a tweet about George Floyd.
But CrossFit is a private company, so Glassman retains ownership.
“I am disappointed, to say the least, with the solution that was provided and I do not see change. This might have given the worldwide press a headline that they wanted, but fundamentally there was no change. Doesn’t Greg Glassman still own 100 per cent of CrossFit?,” Davidsdottir posted.
Last Saturday, Glassman replied to a tweet by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation that called racism and discrimination “public health issues”. Glassman wrote, “It’s FLOYD-19”, referring to George Floyd, the black man killed by a white police officer in the US, and the global pandemic Covid-19.
He went on to explain: “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!”
There was an intimidate backlash. Sponsors dropped CrossFit and many gyms began to de-affiliate. The sport’s top athletes boycotted the CrossFit Games or said their future in the sport was uncertain unless there was change in leadership.
Glassman’s apology, insisting the tweet was “not racist”, did little to stem the tide. Davidsdottir posted at the time that she was angry and “this is not leadership. This is not good human nature”. She added that she was unsure “what that this means for myself or the sport”.
“Earlier this week I posted a very hopeful post, because that was what I was. I BELIEVED there was going to be change for the better. I believed we were on a path to rebuild our sport & community,” Davidsdottir posted on Thursday.
“I believe we need LEADERSHIP, to be led with integrity and morals. A sport driven by unity and inclusivity. To have core values in the right place.
“What we have right now is not a change I can stand by. I believe we can and should do better than this.”
Soon after Glassman stood down, CrossFit posted an introspective apology via an open letter. The brand addressed the tweet, but also added that they should have spoken about the wider issue of systemic racism earlier. The letter also asked critics to consider Glassman’s track record in creating the CrossFit community, not just his recent tweet.
“If you measure Greg Glassman, do it thoroughly,” the letter wrote.
Around about the same time CrossFit posted the letter, a recording of a Zoom call was released. In it, Glassman addressed CrossFit staff and gyms, saying: “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 spouted a number of conspiracy theories about Floyd’s death, linking him to counterfeit money crime rings. He also espoused conspiracy theories about how the Chinese government intentionally released the coronavirus on the world.