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More Athletes Boycott CrossFit Games

 
Morning Chalk Up

June 13
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Good morning and welcome to the weekend edition of the Morning Chalk Up. The news has remained fast and furious throughout the week, and we have several stories we are following. Last night, many prominent women’s Games athletes took a stand and announced that they would boycott the Games unless changes are made. And, many affiliate owners are ready and willing to give CrossFit Inc. another chance and new CEO Dave Castro sent a letter to them yesterday addressing the concerns and laying the groundwork for a path forward. Today:

  • Katrin Davidsdottir, Brooke Wells, Amanda Barnhart and Dani Speegle were joined by Cole Sager and announced they would not compete in the 2020 Games unless additional changes are made.
  • Affiliate owners chime in with support and loyalty to CrossFit Inc.
  • CrossFit CEO Dave Castro issued a letter to affiliates on Friday, taking the first steps towards a new future.
  • Rich Froning, in a conversation with Armen Hammer, stated that programming the Games is dream job, but there is a bigger issue right now.
  • Andy Stumpf, former CrossFit HQ employee and Glassman pilot, details a troubling pattern of behavior and culture surrounding the founder and former CEO.

If your gym has chosen to disaffiliate, please let us know.

And, don’t stop sending us your story tips, quotes and PRs at [email protected].

 

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Developing Story: More Athletes Boycott The Games, Demand Ownership Change

  Developing Story: More Athletes Boycott The Games, Demand Ownership Change  

A growing coalition of CrossFit Games athletes and some of the biggest names in the sport have spoken up and have made their stance clear: They’re out of the Games, until more change is made.

Katrin Davidsdottir, Brooke Wells, and Amanda Barnhardt led a barrage of athletes posting to their Instagram accounts that they would not participate in the 2020 CrossFit Games after the circulation of the former CrossFit employee Andy Stumpf’s podcast where he lays out a disturbing history of behavior from Greg Glassman against women employees.

  • Cole Sager and Dani Speegle followed suit shortly thereafter on Instagram, stating their refusal to compete under similar demands given the recent news.
  • Wells: “Us athletes are NOT sitting idle. We are working hard together to take the correct action to make CHANGE.”

The implications are huge: If more athletes decide to boycott, not only does this seriously put the 2020 CrossFit Games in trouble when accounting for potential restrictions from the pandemic but on a personal level it is significant that some of the biggest names in the community are willing to forego what is essentially their livelihood as an athlete — CrossFit competition at the highest level — to manifest their disapproval with what has come to light.

  • In total 10 athletes have publicly chosen to boycott — starting with Chandler Smith and Noah Ohlsen — representing 16.7% of the Games field at the moment.
  • The vast majority of athletes have yet to fully make a firm decision and have stated that their future will depend on change.  Many are likely waiting to process the influx of information and decide what their path forward will be in the coming days or week.
  • Griffin Roelle four days ago was the one athlete to step out and say that he is still committed to competing at the Games while clarifying that he does not “stand for or with Greg and his comments,” and stating that he would do it out of love, in hopes of providing a useful impact through the platform of competition.
 

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Many Gym Owners Prepared to Give CrossFit a Second Chance

  Many Gym Owners Prepared to Give CrossFit a Second Chance  

On Wednesday evening, CrossFit’s new CEO Dave Castro took to Twitter:

  • “Thanks to all those showing support to CF in these tough times and having the belief in us to earn your trust back,” Castro tweeted.

Most of the hype in recent days has been about athletes and gym owners breaking ties with the CrossFit brand, and about the hundreds of affiliates who have chosen to disaffiliate. However, there are plenty who are prepared to stick with CrossFit. (Editor’s note: Our current estimate is that approximately 13,500 gyms remain affiliated, down from 15,500 at the high watermark in 2018.)

The overarching reason: CrossFit is worth fighting for.

  • “The CrossFit methodology saved my life. When I found it, I was in a deep dark post-traumatic booze-fuelled hole from serving in Afghanistan. I have Glassman to thank for that. I don’t agree with his words or approach (in recent days), but I won’t turn my back on CrossFit, the methodology, and the thousands of people who have worked their asses off to get it to where it is. I renewed my affiliation today and I look forward to seeing Dave Castro rise to the role of CEO, and will continue to endeavor to help others achieve their health and fitness goals,” said Mitchel Claypool of Anchored Athletics in Duncan, British Columbia.
  • “CrossFit changed my life to the point where I wanted to help others change their lives…I’m not a reactive person, I’m a proactive person. I don’t jump just because others are jumping. CrossFit 1927 is steadfast in our commitment in helping people and striving for excellence in everything we do,” Andy Weddle, the owner of CrossFit 1927 in Bloomington, IN told Morning Chalk Up.
  • “Let’s work all together and make CrossFit great again. We’ll get through this,” wrote David Rochon on the CrossFit Affiliate Owners Only forum on Facebook.
 

Dave Castro Promises to Change the Culture at CrossFit HQ

  Dave Castro Promises to Change the Culture at CrossFit HQ  

On Friday, CrossFit Inc.’s new CEO Dave Castro sent an email to CrossFit affiliates.

Castro addressed the various concerns raised by affiliate owners in recent days, including a lack of communication, lack of leadership and lack of support for affiliates.

One big thing: This letter acknowledges the hard work that CrossFit HQ and its new CEO has to do in the coming days, weeks and months. And, it’s a key first step in laying the groundwork to move the affiliate community forward in the wake of a tumultuous period.

Key takeaways: In his letter, Castro recognized the culture at CrossFit HQ needs to change.

  • “HQ needs to change — internally and externally — the way we treat each other,” he said.
  • “In the past, we’ve fallen short with our communication, both in what we say and how we say it.”
  • “Moving forward, we will roll out a series of substantial changes with a particular focus on enhancing the way CrossFit communicates with the affiliate community, starting with a weekly email centered on the needs and voices of the affiliates,” he added.

On the topic of diversity: Castro promised to continue efforts to ensure CrossFit is an inclusive community that serves communities in need.

  • Many of you have participated in such initiatives as CrossFit for Hope, Hope for Kenya, Steve’s Club, and Saved by the Barbell, to name a few. We will continue efforts such as these and make meaningful commitments to supporting grassroots initiatives that allow affiliates to effect positive change at the local level. We will work to make these efforts visible inside and outside the CrossFit community,” he said.

Castro closed out the email with a message of hope: “I’m here to listen to the community, and I’m committed to helping heal what’s been broken and making all feel welcome. We will recover from this. CrossFit affiliates will continue to be the advocates of fitness and health, and to serve as an unwavering source of support for their communities,” he said.

 

Froning on Programming the 2021 CrossFit Games: “There is a Way Bigger Issue that Needs to be Handled Right Now”

  Froning on Programming the 2021 CrossFit Games: “There is a Way Bigger Issue that Needs to be Handled Right Now”  

It didn’t take long for new CrossFit CEO Dave Castro to cause a stir within the sport and community. Following a ZOOM call with 2020 CrossFit Games qualifiers on Thursday afternoon, Castro announced on Twitter that the 2020 Games would be the last one he will program. He also suggest that Rich Froning was a potential candidate to take over those duties.

Not so fast: In a conversation with Armen Hammer this morning, Froning stated that Castro’s tweet about programming the 2021 Games was the first he had “heard anything about it.”

  • Froning said: “I consider Dave a friend, and actually a good friend. The statement about me programming made on the CrossFit Games athlete call was the first time I had heard anything about it. While it is a dream job and honestly one of the highest honors I could hold or ever be awarded in the sport, I think there is a way bigger issue that needs to be handled right now and that’s the community and the affiliates.”  

One big thing: Though Castro’s ideal choice is to have Froning take over his duties of programming for the Games, the four-time “Fittest Man on Earth” discussed what he needed to see from HQ in order to remain connected to CrossFit.

  • Froning stated in the “Behind the White Board” affiliate panel zoom call on Thursday afternoon that he would need CrossFit owner and founder Greg Glassman to be completely divested from the company and a board of directors put in place.
  • Froning has also given no indication that the 2020 season would be his last as an active competitor. Currently, he’s training with his Mayhem Freedom team for the upcoming Mayhem Madness team competition.
 

Watch: Former CrossFit Employee, Pilot To Greg Glassman Speaks Out

  Watch: Former CrossFit Employee, Pilot To Greg Glassman Speaks Out  

In what is likely to be a developing story going forward, former CrossFit Inc. employee Andy Stumpf has just released a new episode of his Cleared Hot podcast entitled “Full Auto Friday –  Round 5” during which he details a troubling pattern of behavior and culture surrounding CrossFit founder, owner, and former CEO Greg Glassman.

A little backstory: Stumpf worked for CrossFit Inc. during some of the companies formative years from 2007 until 2014. He worked for the CrossFit L1 seminar staff as an instructor, and eventually Flowmaster before switching to an administrative role, working as liaison for CrossFit in their business relationship with Reebok, and operating as the personal pilot for Glassman in his travels via private plane.

  • Stumpf eventually quit the company in 2014. In the video below, he details the circumstances around his leaving, and his decision to speak out now.

It’s the latest news in what has without a doubt been the most tumultuous few weeks in the history of CrossFit, and there is a mountain of time, work, and discussion needed in order for the amazing community of affiliates and gyms around the world to be able to forge a better path going forward.

If you’re reading this, your voice is valuable. Your place in the community is instrumental in creating a better future. After watching the video and taking the time to think, we encourage you to comment below, share your thoughts, and be a part of the conversation.

 

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