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Great Falls gyms to cut ties with CrossFit brand after CEO's comments

Posted at 3:05 PM, Jun 11, 2020

GREAT FALLS — The sign says Big Sky CrossFit right now, but soon, it will be Big Sky CoreSport. The Great Falls gym is one of thousands across the country severing affiliations with the CrossFit brand after founder and CEO Greg Glassman sent out multiple tweets on Sunday regarding the death of George Floyd and the ongoing the Black Lives Matter protests.

Big Sky CrossFit owner Ryan Smith says the tweets left him speechless. Smith had considered cutting ties with CrossFit before, so making the decision now was easy.

“It was like pretty easy at that point to say, ‘Well, we don't want to be a part of that. That's not what we’re about,’” Smith said. “We don't want to share that with others or have others basically have to be a part of that, too. So we want to step away from that, at this point in time.”

“We’re a village in that sense. If something happens to one person, it's kind of happened to everybody,” Smith continued. “You don't want to be the person that's determining what everybody else has to feel on the situation.”

Other gyms in Great Falls are planning similar action. CrossFit 406 owner Brooks Lindquist is in the process of re-branding his gym. Lindquist said Glassman had previously been disrespectful in Zoom calls and emails to affiliates.

According to CNN:

  • On the call, a gym owner from Minneapolis, Minnesota, where Floyd was killed and protests over his death began, explained that her community and members of her gym were mourning the death of Floyd. She asked why the company had not made any statement on Floyd's death, according to a recording of the call obtained by CNN Business. There were around 10 CrossFit affiliate owners and several company executives on the call, which lasted nearly two hours. "We're not mourning for George Floyd. I don't think we or any of my staff are," Glassman said. "Can you tell me why I should mourn for him?" Glassman said he thought Floyd's death "had nothing to do with race," and that he believed Floyd's death was part of a conspiracy to cover up money laundering. No evidence of such a conspiracy has been reported.

"I think the model (Glassman) built was very cool. I just think that he lacks leadership and the integrity that we need for someone in his position,” Lindquist said. “So, over the last couple years, this has been something that has been developing and, yeah, this is kind of just the straw that broke the camel's back, if you will.”

Lindquist said separating from the CrossFit brand may help his gym, since sometimes potential clients are turned off by the perceived intensity of CrossFit. Moving forward, coaches like Lindquist and Smith will have to get re-certified, but the independence will allow gyms to keep CrossFit-style workouts while having the freedom to change as they see fit.

"Nothing's going to change in the fact of the methodology of CrossFit. That's still something that I feel strongly about and that I can continue to do because it's still a method, basically, of how we train,” Smith said. “So I'm keeping that. I'm going to add other stuff into it that I found that works for me, and that I want to just basically further along with other people, as well.”