The tweet was short; the uproar it has sparked is massive. In response to a tweet from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation saying that "racism and discrimination are critical public health issues that demand an urgent response," CrossFit CEO Greg Glassman replied with just two words: "It's FLOYD-19." The words, a combined reference to the COVID-19 pandemic plus the death of George Floyd at the hands of police that sparked worldwide protests, led to outrage, with many calling for CrossFit gyms to cancel their affiliation with the organization. More than 100 have already done just that, athletes are boycotting the CrossFit Games, and CrossFit sponsors are decrying Glassman's words—including Reebok, which said in a lengthy statement to Footwear News that it would cut ties with the organization after its current deal ends later this year.
"We will fulfill our remaining contractual obligations in 2020. We owe this to the CrossFit Games competitors, fans and the community," continued the statement, which went on to extol the "strong bonds we’ve created with coaches, box owners and athletes around the world over the past 10 years." Meanwhile, CrossFit "boxes," as gyms affiliated with the organization are known, were also publishing missives about why they decided to unaffiliate (see two examples here and here). Glassman followed up his first tweet with a second, in which he noted, "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!" He later apologized for his "mistake" in using the term "FLOYD-19," USA Today reports, saying that he had simply been "trying to stick it to the (IHME) for their invalidated models resulting in needless, economy-wrecking, life-wrecking lockdown." (Read more CrossFit stories.)