I am heartbroken. The past five days have been a sloppy mess. Our staff, Eric, and I have poured our heart and soul into CrossFit for the past 12 years. It feels like my heart has been ripped from my chest.
I was devastated, sad, and angry to see the words of CrossFit’s founder mock both the pain and suffering in the Black community and the outrage many of us are feeling.
I want to start by making it crystal clear that CrossFit Roots proudly welcomes all. We always have and we always will.
We proudly welcome all, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, or religion. We’ve held this value dearly and worked to make it true since our inception in 2009 – we’ve asked for feedback, made changes, made some mistakes, and will continue to work at it.
Glassman’s comments violated this value, and now all of us, you included, will be asked to explain and account for someone else’s words. As if the current pandemic’s impact on our network of small businesses was not enough, this additional blow has left us emotionally drained, confused, frustrated, and hanging on by a thread.
I know that many of you are wondering what we will do about our association with CrossFit. We have slept little and contemplated this extensively over the past week.
I have decided that de-affiliation is not the action we will take at this time. De-affiliation will not atone for our privilege or give us immunity from the racism in our society. It would, however, splinter the CrossFit community that we have seen change so many peoples’ lives for the better. Leaving CrossFit would sever one of the few and diminishing shared experiences that tie Americans together from North to South, farm country to big city, and so on. CrossFit helps connect us to people and it uniquely provides an elegant solution to our public health disaster. It is the specific method of CrossFit that drives the impactful results and enables a community to thrive. Given all that is at stake, at this time, we are not choosing to turn in our CrossFit citizenship; we are choosing to stay and work for change.
Instead, in the last five days, we chose to apply pressure to CrossFit to begin making serious changes, and while the organization took a step in the right direction—removing Greg Glassman as CEO—continuing pressure (from us and others) and more changes are both requisite. For Eric and I, we know that we have a lot of learning and understanding to do, and we are thinking about what anti-bias and anti-racism will look like moving forward for us personally and at the shop.
Lastly, next week we will host a Town Hall Meeting at Roots (details to follow). We want to hear from you, our community, about your ideas. I value your input. This is hard. I don’t have all the answers. As we navigate the future, I invite your ideas and thoughts.
I hope that, even as this has been a stressful (or very stressful) last three months for many of us, we will continue to talk to and listen to each with compassion and understanding.