Our Last Episode About CrossFit

Good morning everyone. I want to apologize for being silent yesterday. I was frustrated and, honestly, just speechless. I needed the 24 hours to process my thoughts and let those frustrations quell before I opened my mouth and spoke again.

So here are my thoughts, and full disclosure, at the top of the show, this will be our final episode about CrossFit for a while.

If you haven’t heard the big news, Greg Glassman has decided the answer to what’s going on is to appoint Dave Castro as the CEO and to step into retirement. CrossFit then released an open letter titled “Why Didn’t CrossFit Just Say Something?

Here’s my instant evaluation: 

  1. Glassman is still the owner of the company and he pulls the strings. The apology needs to come from him if you truly want to heal the void you’ve created. And it can’t be one of these emotionless letters. It has to be him in front of a camera. We, as a community, have been clear about that from the start.
  2. You cannot consider your “Why Didn’t CrossFit Just Say Something” letter to be an apology. Your wording was very creative and what I can only describe as “maliciously clever” in avoiding the exact phrase “Black Lives Matter”. 
  3. You took an action. That’s an amazing first step. It gives me hope that the soul of the organization is still in there and you could still take better steps to heal this void.
  4. At a time when racial tensions are at a peak, Dave Castro may have not been the best option for CEO. Your best option would’ve been to select someone from outside the organization, particularly someone with a good history of diversity in their leadership.
  5. Casto and I may, philosophically, disagree on just about 99 percent of how the world should be, but I think he’s smart, I think his heart is in the right place, and I think he will be good for the brand. *If* he can run this company independently of the musings of Greg Glassman. We’ve seen what it looks like when Glassman pulls the strings of a CEO. 
  6. I’ve shared a video, and many of you have seen it at this point, of Dave Castro ignoring a question about racial diversity in the sport. The question was poorly worded. Castro was not the person in his training and Games role to address diversity. But, from the lens of leadership, the response he had was exactly what we would expect from Greg Glassman. And that’s not what the community has asked for. We don’t need another Glassman but under a different name. 
  7. As a community, all of us need to have conversations with and support your gyms. Stick with them if they’ve decided to de-affiliate. Talk to them if they’ve decided to stay. Tell them why you would prefer they not have a relationship with CrossFit right now. The only iota of power we have to help (and I use the word “help”) this brand change is to vote with our money. You can influence your gym with your money. Depending on where you work out, it only takes 10-15 members to speak up for an owner to know it will outweigh the cost of their affiliation fee.

And that’s it. I like Dave Castro. I don’t like the circumstances. I like that change happened. It wasn’t the change that we wanted or needed for immediate change.

We will not have a podcast episode tomorrow. I have to figure out what this show is going to be about while CrossFit figures out what their new identity will be, and then we will re-evaluate.

To Dave Castro and all of the good people who remain within the CrossFit organization, I appreciate you and hope you’ll do the work to heal this void. I’ll be watching, and I’m an ally when it comes to you getting better and will help in any way I can. But Black Lives Matter. They deserve for you to be better. I’m going to focus on community organizing in the scope of where I live in Brooklyn.

If you need more commentary, I think Armen from ArmenHammerTV did a great job analyzing the situation, so I’ll point you over to his YouTube channel.

New show on Monday, from the top down. It will be inspiring, it will be motivating, and it will be relevant to you. I just don’t know what that means yet. Have a good weekend!

By Ben Garves

Ben Garves is a digital product expert, author, entertainer, and activist. His portfolio of thought leadership in digital marketing and web experiences has included major clients like Microsoft, Google, Twitter, eBay, and Facebook. He’s also a freelance health and fitness journalist with over 400 stories written since 2018, a podcaster with 200 episodes to his name, and runs a YouTube channel with over 100 fitness and activism-oriented videos and live streams. Ben has founded the Fitness is for Everyone™ initiative to raise awareness about social injustice in both racial inequality and socioeconomic disparity in access to quality fitness and nutrition options around the globe.

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