Greg Glassman: why the CrossFit CEO resigned over Black Lives Matter comments - and who is his replacement Dave Castro?

The creator of popular fitness regimen CrossFit has stepped down after posting offensive tweets
A woman lifts weight during crossfit training in a gym in Paris (Photo: BERTRAND GUAY/AFP via Getty Images)A woman lifts weight during crossfit training in a gym in Paris (Photo: BERTRAND GUAY/AFP via Getty Images)
A woman lifts weight during crossfit training in a gym in Paris (Photo: BERTRAND GUAY/AFP via Getty Images)

Greg Glassman helped to come up with the concept of CrossFit in 1996, but nearly 25 years later, he’s been forced to walk away from his position as chief executive.

That’s following posts he made relating to the death of George Floyd and the ongoing Black Lives Matter demonstrations taking place around the world.

Here's everything you need to know:

(Photo: BERTRAND GUAY/AFP via Getty Images)(Photo: BERTRAND GUAY/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo: BERTRAND GUAY/AFP via Getty Images)

What did Glassman say?

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On Saturday 6 June, Glassman tweeted "It's: FLOYD-19" in response to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington’s declaration that "racism and discrimination are critical public health issues that demand an urgent response."

A second tweet from Glassman followed up by saying: "Your failed model quarantined us and now you're going to model a solution to racism? George Floyd's brutal murder sparked riots nationally."

Just hours before, Glassman told gym owners on a private Zoom call, "We're not mourning for George Floyd - I don't think me or any of my staff are,” according to Buzzfeed.

(Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)(Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
(Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

"Can you tell me why I should mourn for him? Other than that it's the white thing to do."

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Glassman's tweets and comments were widely condemned by the CrossFit community, with many CrossFit-affiliated gyms ending their association around the world.

Reebok also announced that they would end their corporate association.

Who will take Glassman’s place?

Glassman announced his retirement on Tuesday 9 June – the day of George Floyd's funeral in Texas – in a statement.

"I'm stepping down as CEO of CrossFit, Inc, and I have decided to retire,” he said.

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"On Saturday I created a rift in the CrossFit community and unintentionally hurt many of its members."

He added: "I cannot let my behaviour stand in the way of HQ's or affiliates' missions. They are too important to jeopardise."

Glassman will be succeeded by Dave Castro, and incoming CEO called CrossFit “a community - one that is global, diverse, and tough."

"Our community is hurt, though. Our shared bond brings together millions of people with differing opinions, viewpoints, and experiences."

Who is Dave Castro?

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Castro was already a high-ranking member of the CrossFit community, serving as the director of the CrossFit Games, the yearly competition in which elite athletes and teams from around the world compete to be named the “Fittest on Earth”.

This year’s games will be held the week of 29 July to 2 August, and will be the 13th annual edition of the Games. The total prize pool is worth more than $2.8 million (£2.3 million).

The games first took place in 2007, and now enjoy extensive media coverage from outlets like ESPN and CBS Sports.

According to the games’ website, Castro served as a Navy SEAL between 1998 and 2010, and “first caught wind of CrossFit in 2005 when he started following to support his training.”

What is CrossFit?

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Promoted as both a physical exercise philosophy and a competitive fitness sport, CrossFit incorporates elements from various disciplines of high-intensity interval training.

It’s a popular method of keeping fit, practised by the members of over 13,000 affiliated gyms worldwide, but has come under fire in the past.

Most notably, the regimen has been criticised for allegedly causing people to suffer from unnecessary injuries, and ‘exertional rhabdomyolysis’, a potentially life-threatening breakdown of muscle from extreme exertion.