SAN MARCOS, Calif. – Looking around Benjamin Timm’s Double Barrel Fitness gym in San Marcos, there’s plenty of typical equipment and motivational quotes emblazoned on the wall for guests.
But one thing no longer found there: the word “CrossFit.”
“People asked if it was a tough decision,” Timm said. “It was the easiest decision of my life.”
The decision to drop CrossFit from the gym’s name comes on the heels of a controversy surrounding the branded fitness regime company after its ex-CEO made insensitive comments about race in a recent Zoom call with affiliate gym owners.
In the call, Greg Glassman, the brand’s co-founder, told affiliates, “We’re not mourning for George Floyd,” the Minneapolis man who died on Memorial Day after his neck was pinned to the ground for nearly nine minutes by an officer’s knee.
“I don’t think me or any of my staff are (mourning),” Glassman said. “Can you tell me why I should mourn for him?”
Glassman also tweeted out the remark, “It’s Floyd-19,” an apparent reference to the COVID-19 pandemic. He exited the role as chief executive on Tuesday in what the company called a retirement, during which he acknowledged that he “created a rift in the CrossFit community.”
But his comments still are impacting local affiliates like Timm’s. The gym owner scrubbed CrossFit from its branding and removed references to it on social media.
“To just come and say something like that, I saw it and it made my blood curdle and I said no,” he said. “I immediately wrote a message to my general manager and said, ‘I think we are done.'”
Even in stepping down, Glassman retains full ownership of the company, according to Forbes, but he was replaced as CEO by Dave Castro, who had been serving as director of the CrossFit Games and co-director of training.
In a statement Thursday, CrossFit acknowledged that some gyms “have chosen to de-affiliate, and we understand their decision.”
“It’s on us to earn back their respect and trust,” the brand’s statement reads. “No matter whether they choose to affiliate with us again or not, we hope they continue the fight to prevent and reverse chronic disease.”
Despite dropping the CrossFit name, Timm said that decision won’t impact any of the gym’s workout routes, calling it a “formality.” Local affiliates pay a fee every year for the rights to use the CrossFit name.
That money now will be put toward diversity training or scholarships, Timm said.