Reebok and gyms across the country have announced that they are ending their partnerships with CrossFit after the company's silence on police brutality and founder Greg Glassman's racist tweets about George Floyd's death.
"Our partnership with CrossFit HQ comes to an end later this year. Recently, we have been in discussions regarding a new agreement, however, in light of recent events, we have made the decision to end our partnership with CrossFit HQ," a spokesperson for Reebok said in a statement. "We will fulfill our remaining contractual obligations in 2020. We owe this to the CrossFit Games competitors, fans and the community. What doesn’t change is our commitment and dedication to CrossFitters and the passionate CrossFit community."
The announcement came after Glassman tweeted at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation on Saturday, responding to a statement that "racism and discrimination are critical public health issues that demand an urgent response."
Glassman replied, "It's FLOYD-19."
In another reply to the tweet, Glassman told the institute: "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!"
The tweets sparked backlash against the company's CEO from athletes and gym owners on social media.
After the backlash, CrossFit posted a statement on behalf of Glassman. The company did not immediately respond to BuzzFeed News.
"It was a mistake, not racist but a mistake," the statement said.
Glassman's initial tweets also came after an affiliate gym owner from Seattle, Alyssa Royse, wrote a blog post calling on the company to address police brutality and protests that have been happening across the country. In the post, Royse shared a note she had sent to CrossFit HQ detailing why her gym would not be renewing its affiliate membership when their contract ended.
"Let’s be clear, your silence IS taking a stand. You are standing, in silence on the side of history that Brady and I cannot stand on," Royse wrote. "Even taking a small step to the right side of history is better than haphazardly napping on the wrong side of history."
In an email reply to Royse, which she also posted, Glassman disputed that it was the brand's responsibility to address the protests or Floyd's death.
"I sincerely believe that quarantine has adversely impacted your mental health," Glassman wrote.
"You're doing your best to brand us as racist and you know it's bullshit. That makes you a really shitty person. Do you understand that? You've let your politics warp you into something that strikes me as wrong to the point of being evil. I am ashamed of you," he added.
Royse told BuzzFeed News she wasn't expecting Glassman's response.
"I sent that note because I assumed that you cared, I thought that they cared, and also to say, 'Hey, as a brand you are headed for some trouble in this situation and you might want to take heed so things don't explode.' Basically, I was trying to prevent exactly what's happened now," Royse said.
Royse said she's now received hundreds of messages from CrossFitters and affiliate owners who have said that they're distancing themselves from the brand.
"This has been shocking, amazing, and beautiful. I think at the core, many of us who own CrossFit gyms got into it because we truly want to help people, and it was a real slap in the face to see the person at the helm of this would treat an affiliate that way," Royse said. "Who would say those things to someone? It just flies in the face of all of us who believe in human decency and compassion and supporting each other. It was a cognitive dissonance that was just too much."