Reebok Ends CrossFit Partnership After CEO Mocks ‘Racism Is a Public Health Issue’ Tweet

A gym enthusiast exercised whilst maintaining distance from others at CrossFit Arena Bangkok, during their first week of reopening following closure of physical wellness centers after authorities lifted some measures of restrictions to halt the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Bangkok on May 20, 2020. (Photo by Lillian SUWANRUMPHA …
LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP via Getty Images

Reebok, an apparel brand owned by Adidas, ended its business partnership with CrossFit following the fitness company’s CEO mocking a declaration of “racism” as “a public health issue.”

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, an organization located at the University of Washington and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, tweeted on Saturday that “racism is a public health issue.”

Greg Glassman, CrossFit’s CEO, responded via Twitter, “It’s FLOYD-19.”

After Glassman’s tweet, Business Insider sought a response from Reebok. Business Insider described the tweet as “controversial,” “tone-deaf,” “racist,” and “insensitive.”

Business Insider obtained a response from Reebok via a statement: “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 aligned itself with the Black Lives Matter campaign. Its website currently has an animated banner with the following message:

Without the Black community, Reebok would not exist. America would not exist. We are not asking you to buy our shoes. We are asking you to walk in someone else’s. To Stand in solidarity. To find our common ground of HUMANITY.

In May of 2019, CrossFit criticized Facebook’s arbitrary censorship practices. The company declared it would “no longer support or use Facebook’s services until further notice.” The company also stopped using Facebook-owned Instagram and WhatsApp platforms.

CrossFit is an exercise and fitness brand that licenses its trademark to partnered gyms. The company’s business model also sells training certifications and sponsors the CrossFit Games, an annual athletic fitness competition. It was estimated to have a $4 billion valuation by Forbes in 2017.

Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter @rkraychik.

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