Three-time women's CrossFit champ Tia-Clair Toomey has joined other athletes in calling out CrossFit CEO and founder Greg Glassman over his recent tweets. The latter came in response to a post from a healthcare statistics institution about the link between racism and public well-being.
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I wanted to start by saying that I am incredibly saddened, disappointed and frustrated with the actions and words of Crossfit HQ and in particular Greg Glassman. I’m deeply apologetic from the bottom of my heart to all the people who have had to witness this ignorance and the pain it causes. A lack of acknowledgement and empathy for those who are fighting for basic human rights and equality is simply inexcusable and it’s behaviour that we cannot stand for. It has made both Shane and I incredibly ashamed to be a part of an organisation that we have dedicated so much of ourselves to. If it has us angered and disappointed like we are, we couldn’t even begin to imagine how these words and actions affect the extremely diverse global community of crossfitters and supporters who have all dedicated so much time, money and passion to the sport. But this is much bigger than the sport. For those who continue to be dismissive of inequality, you must understand that this is a truly GLOBAL issue and we NO longer can sit idle and do or say nothing. It’s on ALL of us to keep fighting the cause globally until systemic racism and the inhumane treatment of black communities around the globe no longer exists. I said earlier that this issue is much bigger than sport, yet sport and the functional fitness space has a really important part to play. Sport and fitness bring us together and unite us in such a powerful and profound way. I want my platform to drive positivity, unity and the overall message that no matter your skin colour or cultural background, we should all inspire one another to be the best versions of themselves. I want my platform to reflect the values and beliefs of the community I feel most comfortable in, a community that raises up those around them and gives everybody their own individual opportunity to be a champion. My future with Crossfit is unclear and depends on the direction of HQ. I will continue to stand against ignorance and stand alongside those who fight abuse, hatred and racism.
Australian-born Toomey posted a video to her Instagram setting out her stance under the emphatic caption "making the stand!"
"I wanted to start by saying that I am incredibly saddened, disappointed, and frustrated with the actions and words of CrossFit HQ and in particular Greg Glassman", she said, further going on to express her apologies on behalf of the CrossFit community:
"I'm deeply apologetic from the bottom of my heart to all the people who have had to witness this ignorance and the pain it causes".
She continued by stating that "a lack of acknowledgement and empathy for those who are fighting for basic human rights and equality is simply inexcusable", stressing they cannot "stand for such behaviour".
"My future with CrossFit is unclear and depends on the direction of HQ", Toomey admitted.
The matter provoked a storm of reactions online, with Toomey's subscribers giving her a thumbs-up for speaking her mind on the controversy.
"Boycott the games sis", one told the 26-year-old, like many others did, suggesting otherwise it would be no more than lip service.
"Thank you for standing up for what is right, and fighting the good fight!", another netizen weighed in similarly.
"Thank you for your words, Tia! Let's keep taking a stand for everyone in this amazing community", a third expressed.
"A true champion! Cannot be prouder of you for standing up and standing strong @tiaclair1... you truly are #morethananathlete", another posted, while there were also a few voices suggesting politics and big-time sports should not be mixed.
Canadian Patrick Vellner, this year's 2020 CrossFit Open champ, also took to Instagram to make his feelings known, linking fellow countryman and CrossFitter Brent Fikowski in the post.
"Brent and I will be continuing to work on ourselves and those who we have been fortunate to touch through our sports careers. I very much hope that Greg can step up and do the same".
Many other stars from the CrossFit community, including Rich Froning, Mat Fraser, Noah Ohlsen, Katrin Davidsdottir and Chandler Smith, have blasted Glassman's comments calling for change within the company's leadership structure, and so have other sport enthusiasts. Reebok and Rogue, CrossFit's two major sponsors, have stated they will cut ties with the sports company.
A CrossFit affiliate reached out to HQ with concerns over their silence through Covid and the BLM movement. CrossFit CEO Greg Glassman responded by saying quarantine has impacted their mental health. Glad I’ve ended my connection with the sport. I’m disgusted.— Cassandra Ambrosius (@CNVinch) June 7, 2020
On Saturday, Glassman tweeted "Floyd-19" in reply to a post from the Institution for Health Metrics and Evaluation about how racism could be linked to public health, later adding a second comment:
It's FLOYD-19.— Greg Glassman (@CrossFitCEO) June 6, 2020
"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 latter words are a reference to the ongoing protests against the death of George Floyd, who was suffocated by a police officer while being taken into custody. The protests have since turned into massive riots, with arson and acts of vandalism, and authorities being forced to resort to National Guard forces and curfews to suppress the social unrest.
Glassman then offered an apology via CrossFit’s official Twitter account, tweeting: “I made a mistake by the words I chose yesterday”, shortly after Reebok and Rogue announced they were ending their partnerships with the brand.
“My heart is deeply saddened by the pain it has caused. It was a mistake, not racist but a mistake … when I saw they were announcing modelling a solution to our racial crisis, I was incredulous, angry, and overly emotional. Involving George Floyd’s name in that effort was wrong,” the CEO stated, as many continued to call for his resignation.
Total failure in leadership. Glassman should resign.— ɢᴇᴍᴍᴀ ꜰɪɴɴꜱᴅÓᴛᴛɪʀ (@Gemma_Finnegan) June 8, 2020
Please sign the petition to demand @CrossFitCEO Greg Glassman resign from @CrossFit. He most recent "Floyd-19" tweets are an embarrassment and don't reflect the #CrossFit community. https://t.co/hqW09lYvHL— Michael Onesi (@MikeOnesi) June 8, 2020