June 20, 2021


Keep Fit & Healthy

A new CEO isn’t enough to save CrossFit if Greg Glassman remains 100% owner, says athlete and gym owner Zack George

6 min read

Zack George is a CrossFit athlete and affiliate gym owner.
Zack George is a CrossFit athlete and affiliate gym owner.

Zack George

  • CrossFit HQ has been accused of racism and misogyny in recent weeks following CEO Greg Glassman’s insensitive George Floyd comment.

  • The company has since replaced Glassman with Dave Castro, but the UK’s top CrossFit athlete and affiliate owner Zack George believes this isn’t enough.

  • George told Insider the main problem is that Glassman still owns 100% of the brand.

  • “There’s actually really not been too much of a change because he’s still going to profit from the whole organization,” George said.

  • Representatives for CrossFit, Glassman, and Castro did not immediately reply to Insider’s request for comment.

  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Accusations of racism and misogyny from within CrossFit’s headquarters over controversial comments made by the company’s founder and former CEO Greg Glassman have led to athletes quitting the CrossFit Games, gyms disaffiliating, and sponsors dropping the brand in recent weeks.

Although Glassman has now resigned and been replaced by Dave Castro, the UK’s fittest man Zack George told Insider why he thinks a new leader won’t be enough to save the company.

CrossFit HQ has been accused of racism and misogyny

In early June, criticism was already rumbling amongst athletes and gyms after the functional fitness behemoth did not publicly state support for the Black Lives Matter movement, but things came to a head after the company’s then-CEO Glassman tweeted an insensitive comment after the death of George Floyd. 

Glassman tweeted “It’s FLOYD-19” in response to a post from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation classifying racism and discrimination as a public health issue, Business Insider’s Shoshy Ciment reported.


Then, BuzzFeed News published audio of a Zoom call in which Glassman told CrossFit gym owners that no one at the company’s HQ was mourning Floyd.

There was also an email sent by Glassman to Seattle gym Rocket CrossFit, in which Glassman wrote: “You’re doing your best to brand us as racist and you know it’s bulls—. That makes you a really s—-y person.”

Many of the sport’s biggest athletes, ambassadors, sponsors, and affiliate gyms then began ending their partnerships with the company out of anger, disappointment, and shame.

Greg Glassman in 2015.
Greg Glassman in 2015.

Getty/The Washington Post

Glassman posted a statement on June 8 saying his tweet was “a mistake, not racist but a mistake” and the following day it was announced he would be stepping down as CEO to be replaced by Director of the CrossFit Games, and Co-Director of Training Dave Castro.

“It is rare for us to speak on these types of issues. We struggled the past few weeks because we allowed our desire to get it right to paralyze us,” CrossFit HQ said in a further statement on June 9.

However, an explosive podcast by ex-Navy Seal and former CrossFit employee Andy Stumpf was then published on June 12 which featured allegations of mistreatment of women by Glassman and of misogyny within the company.


Speaking on his “Cleared Hot” podcast, Stumpf said he heard many “derogatory and specifically sexual comments” about female employees while working at CrossFit HQ.

For many of CrossFit’s top athletes such as Brooke Wells, this was the final straw.

“I will never ever represent a company under this leadership. It is appalling, disgusting, and I want no part,” Wells wrote in a statement posted on Instagram on June 13.


After Castro’s new role was announced, he posted a statement also on June 13 saying that “HQ needs to change,” but some people pointed out in the comments that it didn’t mention any specifics. 


The vast majority of the world’s top CrossFit athletes have spoken out to distance themselves from the sport, condemn Glassman’s comments, and even announce they’re boycotting the Games which are due to take place in Fall 2020.

Zack George believes a new CEO isn’t enough

As the winner of the 2020 CrossFit UK Open, Zack George, 29, has been named the UK’s fittest man.

George has owned his own gym, CrossFit BFG in Leicestershire, UK, since 2015, and as a Black athlete, says he’s never experienced any racism during his time in the CrossFit community.

Zack George is the UK's fittest man in 2020.
Zack George is the UK’s fittest man in 2020.

Zack George

However, George believes replacing Glassman with Castro isn’t enough to save the brand.

“It’s a good change in direction, but there’s still so much work to be done,” he said.

The main issue, in the eyes of George, is that Glassman still owns 100% of CrossFit, the company he founded in 2000, as Business Insider reported.

“There’s actually really not been too much of a change because he’s still going to profit from the whole organization,” George said.

George has owned owned CrossFit BFG in Leicestershire, UK, since 2015.
George has owned owned CrossFit BFG in Leicestershire, UK, since 2015.

Zack George

He believes a lot of the top athletes and the community are going to struggle to support the brand as it stands.

“It’s good that they’ve listened to the community, listened to our voices, and made an initial change, but there’s still work to be done,” George said.

“Glassman has stepped down as CEO before and he’s still come back. So he could still return as CEO in five months.”

Indeed, in 2017, Glassman appointed Jeff Cain to take over as CEO in 2017, but two years later, Cain resigned and Glassman took the reins again, Box Life Magazine reported. 

Although CrossFit has yet to respond to the allegations made in Stumpf’s podcast, George believes “it’s just making people feel even more strongly about their opinion that they can’t support this brand.”

“I think they’ve got a big problem on their hands that they need to solve,” George added.

George thinks CrossFit should sell shares to the affiliate owners

As a CrossFit gym owner — and the gym being closed due to the coronavirus lockdown — George is yet to disaffiliate CrossFit BFG from the company.

“We’re waiting to see what happens really because if, say, over the next week or so, CrossFit sells all the shares to the affiliate owners, so we have a say in the future CrossFit, I think everyone would really want to support CrossFit and still love the brand,” he said.

Rather than cutting ties straight away, George is giving the company some time to make a change.


“I think we still need to give a bit of time to see if they do make the right decisions, because if they do do that, then I’d still love to support CrossFit as a brand and a sport.”

If nothing changes, he says he plans to disaffiliate — but said that won’t really change what his gym offers.

“As it stands, if it stays as it is now, we would definitely disaffiliate and we couldn’t be part of that,” George said.

“Obviously the tweets and all the other things that are coming out now about Glassman, it’s just definitely something we couldn’t stand by.

“But the members come to our gym because of the coaching and the community aspect, not because it’s called CrossFit.

“It wouldn’t be too much of a difference business-wise, but we’re just seeing how it pans out, and hopefully they do do the right thing.”

Representatives for CrossFit, Glassman, and Castro did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for further comment.

Read more:

The world’s top CrossFit athletes are boycotting the sport following the CEO’s insensitive comments on George Floyd

CrossFit gyms around the world are rebranding after the CEO’s insensitive comments about George Floyd: ‘They don’t own the workout’

Meet Greg Glassman, the former CrossFit CEO whose comments about George Floyd torpedoed the company’s relationships with brands, athletes, and gyms

Read the original article on Insider

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