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Reebok ends partnership with CrossFit over CEO's racist tweet

Glassman's racist tweet has cost him more than social media credibility. CrossFit will no longer be working with Reebok, Rogue Fitness.

The world is polarised right now. One half of the world is battling the coronavirus and the other half is battling systemic racism from different corners of the world. The clarion call is for equality, irrespective of skin colour and the plea is to be more sensitive to other people’s needs.

The cause of protests is the death of black American citizen George Floyd. He was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis; his crime was that he attempted to buy cigarettes with a counterfeit note. The protests over his death became a rallying cry for an end to unfair treatment of black citizens in America. Protests continue, violating social distancing norms in different countries all over the world.

At the intersection of the coronavirus and the Black Lives Matter movement, CrossFit CEO George Glassman has been caught in the middle of a controversy over an insensitive tweet that he had posted. The tweet by Glassman was a response to a statement on the Black Lives Matter movement posted by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME). IHME is an independent research center at the University of Washington.

Screenshot of the tweet by Glassman
Screenshot of the tweet by Glassman

Many social media users were quick to point out that the tweet was 'tone deaf' and 'insensitive'. The tweet that followed appeared to be a frustrated rant about having to live under lockdown.

Reebok ends partnership with CrossFit over CEO's racist tweet

Shortly after the initial tweet, many affliate gyms, who offered CrossFit training programs announced that they would no longer be associated with the fitness company. Reebok also announced it would no longer be partnering with CrossFit. The sportswear company is the official sponsor for The CrossFit Games (an annual athletic competition owned and operated by CrossFit) - and it announced that it would be ending ties with the fitness company after fulfillment of the contract.

On Sunday (07 June 2020), Reebok published a statement, reported by Forbes - “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."

Rogue Fitness - a USA based manufacturer of sports equipment also criticised Glassman's words, saying in a statement that 'his comments are unacceptable under all conditions.' The statement was posted to Rogue Fitness' Instagram handle and emphasised that the community is bigger than one person and that the Black Lives Matter movement is stronger than one person. "No one should be expected to tolerate anything that keeps us from moving forward as one," read the post.

View this post on Instagram

Rogue does not support the latest statements made by the CrossFit CEO, Greg Glassman. His comments are unacceptable under all conditions. The community is bigger than one person. The movement is stronger than one person. Noone should be expected to tolerate anything that keeps us from moving forward as one. Effective Immediately: 1.0 Rogue Invitational will remove the CrossFit Logo from the 2020 event. We will only allow discussion of sanctioning with real discussion on the future 2.0 Rogue will work with the CrossFit Games leadership to determine the best path forward. We will fulfill the 2020 season for the athletes and the community. The future is dependent on the direction and leadership within CrossFit HQ. Rogue has been the equipment provider since 2010 and we believe it is part of our DNA. We hope there is a path forward. We stand behind the community.

A post shared by Rogue Fitness (@roguefitness) on

Under fire from these two major global fitness brands and social media users alike, Glassman took to CrossFit's Twitter handle to post an official apology.

As of the time of filing this story, the initial incendiary tweet was still active on Glassman's personal handle.