Negotiations to renew Reebok’s 10-year exclusive deal as the CrossFit title sponsor, which has positioned Reebok as the sole licensee of CrossFit apparel and shoes and was set to expire sometime after this year’s games, ended when Glassman replied to the Director of Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s statement, “Racism is a public health issue,” with the following tweet: “It’s FLOYD-19.”
In a statement to Morning Chalk Up, Reebok said that it would fulfill remaining contractual obligations in 2020, citing its commitment and dedication to the CrossFit community ties it has built over the past decade.
Reebok’s exodus imperils the millions of dollars CrossFit receives in royalty payments from Reebok’s licensing deal and the multimillion-dollar prize fund Reebok contributes each year.
Glassman then tried to backpedal, championing Floyd in this apology he issued:
By then, however, the damage had been done. Glassman’s remark was met with public backlash from brands and members of the CrossFit community alike. Nearly 100 current and past CrossFit participants posted text-only messages saying, “I’m Out,” as well as video reactions, declining participation in these year’s games, pending major changes being made to CrossFit.
Previous sponsors of CrossFit, such as LIFEAID’s FITAID and Rogue, also censured Glassman’s statement. Rogue, for example, decided to immediately remove the CrossFit logo from Rogue Invitational, its upcoming online fitness competition, noting that its future with CrossFit is dependent on the “direction and leadership within CrossFit HQ.”
Co-founder and president of LIFEAID Aaron Hinde said in a video that the company will also end its longstanding relationship as a sponsor of the CrossFit Games.
Glassman’s remark comes as brands rally behind the Black Lives Matter movement, which CrossFit was silent about until after Glassman’s tweet went viral. In fact, after the affiliate owner of a CrossFit gym urged CrossFit to speak up about its stance on Black Lives Matter, Glassman chided her for, “doing your best to brand us as racist.”
While countless brands issued statements supporting the black community and pledging donations to organizations supporting racial justice, CrossFit resumed normal messaging; even going so far as to launch a new program called CrossFit Health Education, which provides education and professional development opportunities for doctors, trainers and health-care providers, on June 2. On that same day, which came to be known as Blackout Tuesday, brands went dark on social media to show solidarity with Black Lives Matter protesters.