Gyms worldwide — from the U.S. to Australia to Hong Kong — have opted against renewing their affiliate license

By Julie Mazziotta
June 09, 2020 05:12 PM
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Around 500 gyms around the world have announced that they are dropping their CrossFit affiliation in the last three days, in response to a racist tweet from CrossFit CEO Greg Glassman.

From the U.S. to Australia to Hong Kong, hundreds of gyms have said that they will not renew their affiliate license, according to a Google Document of now-disaffiliated gyms.

Affiliate membership, which costs $3,000 USD a year, enables gyms to use the CrossFit name and puts them on a centralized list on the CrossFit website. As part of the affiliate rules, gyms are required to have coaches who are certified CrossFit trainers. The first two levels of certification cost $1,000 USD each, and the higher levels are $150.

While the number of disaffiliated gyms is growing, many of the 13,000 worldwide are sticking with CrossFit. Morning Chalk Up, a CrossFit news site separate from the brand, reported that in a private Facebook group of CrossFit affiliate owners, they are mixed on dropping their affiliation. Some are saying that it’s better to stick with the company and advocate for Glassman’s removal, and others are concerned about their ability to market their gym — at a time when many are closed due to COVID-19 — without having CrossFit in their name.

The wave of disaffiliations began on Sunday, after Glassman’s tweet — he responded to a statement from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation that said “racism is a public health issue” by saying that the illness is called “Floyd-19” — gained attention online.

Glassman apologized one day later for including George Floyd in his tweet and said that he was “trying to stick it to” the Institute because he disagreed with their COVID-19 models that he said resulted in “needless, economy-wrecking, life-wrecking lockdown.”

But by that point, hundreds of gyms had dropped CrossFit, professional athletes had said they would not attend the annual CrossFit Games and many brands — including their largest sponsor, Reebok — said they would no longer work with CrossFit.

“Our partnership with CrossFit HQ comes to an end later this year. 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. We will fulfill our remaining contractual obligations in 2020. We owe this to the CrossFit Games competitors, fans and the community,” Reebok said in a statement Sunday morning, which they shared with PEOPLE.