The founder and chief executive officer of personal fitness company CrossFit said Tuesday he is stepping down and has decided to retire over a controversial tweet he posted about the death of George Floyd which sparked outrage.
“On Saturday, I created a rift in the CrossFit community and unintentionally hurt many of its members. Since I founded CrossFit 20 years ago, it has become the world’s largest network of gyms. All are aligned in offering an elegant solution to the vexing problem of chronic disease,” Greg Glassman said in a statement.
Glassman sparked the controversy after writing “It’s FLOYD-19” in response to a tweet by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation which said “racism and discrimination are critical public health issues that demand an urgent response.”
Also, BuzzFeed News reported that Glassman downplayed the protests demanding justice for Floyd and said “We’re not mourning for George Floyd — I don’t think me or any of my staff are” during a Zoom video conferencing meeting.
“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 reportedly told a gym owner, according to BuzzFeed.
In his statement, Glassman said he cannot let his “behavior stand in the way of HQ’s or affiliates’ missions. They are too important to jeopardize.”
On Sunday, Glassman apologized for his remarks, saying “it was a mistake, not racist but a mistake” after Reebok and many affiliates said they will cut ties with the fitness company.
The resignation came on the same day Floyd — a 46-year-old black man whose fatal arrest prompted international protests and renewed calls for a major overhaul to the US criminal justice system — was laid to rest in Texas.
A bystander’s video footage of Floyd’s arrest in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 25 after he reportedly attempted to use a counterfeit $20 bill at a local store triggered mass protests that were not limited to America’s borders.
Floyd is seen pinned to the ground in handcuffs by a white Minneapolis police officer, his neck compressed by the officer’s knee for nearly nine minutes.
Floyd pleaded with the since-fired officer, telling him he could not breathe, calling out to his mother and saying “everything hurts” in some of his final words before he appeared to lose consciousness. The officer continued to maintain the position on Floyd’s neck.
An independent autopsy found that Floyd was killed by “asphyxiation from sustained pressure.”
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