Reebok has become the latest brand to cut ties with CrossFit after the company’s CEO joked about the death of George Floyd.
Greg Glassman responded to a tweet from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington that read: "Racism is a public health issue".
In his reply, Glassman wrote: "FLOYD-19", making light of Floyd’s death with the name of the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Adidas AG, who owns Reebok, issued a statement about its decision to end the relationship that said: "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."
Glassman has since apologised. Posting on CrossFit's Twitter account, Glassman said: "I, CrossFit HQ, and the CrossFit community will not stand for racism. I made a mistake by the words I chose yesterday. My heart is deeply saddened by the pain it has caused. It was a mistake, not racist but a mistake.
"Floyd is a hero in the black community and not just a victim. I should have been sensitive to that and wasn't. I apologise for that.
"I was trying to stick it to the @IHME_UW [Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation] for their invalidated models resulting in needless, economy-wrecking, life-wrecking lockdown, and 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."
CrossFit has become hugely successful over the last 15 years, utilised by gyms all over the world. It uses an affiliate model, developed by Glassman, while the CrossFit Games – first launched in 2007 – have become a global showpiece, with Reebok as the current sponsors.
Since Glassman’s tweet, however, more than 200 affiliated gyms have removed CrossFit equipment and branding from their facilities.
A number of CrossFit athletes, including Tia-Clair Toomey, Ant Haynes and Rich Froning, have called Glassman out for his tweet, as well as his apology.