Several CrossFit-affiliated gyms in Baton Rouge and New Orleans joined others across the country by dropping their association with the company or are considering it after CrossFit's chief executive officer made comments on social media about racial inequality protests.
In Baton Rouge, Red Stick CrossFit is leaving the fold and changing its name. Geaux CrossFit has not yet made a decision whether to stay or leave, its owner said on Monday. CrossFit BR's owner said the company prefers to stay out of the conflict. Central City CrossFit could not be reached for comment on Monday.
In New Orleans, one of the coaches at CrossFit NOLA started a petition asking for change in CrossFit leadership and said that if that doesn't happen, the organization plans to cancel its affiliation, according to its Facebook page.
Big Easy CrossFit's owner said he is "evaluating our next steps as a community" and "will no longer be loyal to someone or something that does not share these values (of inclusivity)."
Krewe de CrossFit decided to de-affiliate with CrossFit. CrossFit Algiers denounced the CEO's comments but did not commit to de-affiliation publicly.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, an independent research institute at the University of Washington in Seattle, on Saturday tweeted: "Racism is a Public Health Issue."
CrossFit founder and CEO Greg Glassman responded on Twitter, "It's Floyd-19" referencing COVID-19, the novel coronavirus pandemic that has killed 400,000 people around the world.
George Floyd was an African American man who died about two weeks ago after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee on his neck for several minutes. The incident was captured on video and has sparked worldwide protests.
Andrew Chicoine, who co-owns Red Stick Community Fitness with his wife Melissa Chicoine, said that the "insensitive" comments by the CrossFit CEO was the final straw.
"He has been known in the last couple of years to be a loose cannon with his mouth," Andrew Chicoine said. "I'm not OK with his lack of sensitivity and disregard for what's going on. You can't have any mocking tone about what's happening right now."
Red Stick CrossFit, which has been open for nine years in Mid-City Baton Rouge, is changing its name to Red Stick Community Fitness and ending its affiliation with the brand.
Membership fees for the legal right to use the CrossFit brand range between $500 and $3,000 per gym each year.
The founder of CrossFit has since apologized for the comment on Twitter after Reebok, a major sponsor of the business cut ties.
Red Stick Community Fitness expects to continue using functional fitness techniques, which is not licensed by CrossFit, and promote a healthy lifestyle.
"We pride ourselves in being inclusive and welcoming to everybody when they are inside the gym. We are just a big family," Chicoine said. "We're not just a 9-to-5 business, but we stand for something and have morals and beliefs."
Glassman, through his company's Twitter account, wrote in an apology, “I, CrossFit HQ, and the CrossFit community will not stand for racism. I made a mistake by the words I chose yesterday. My heart is deeply saddened by the pain it has caused. It was a mistake, not racist but a mistake.”