Let’s call bullsh*t on the newfound belief in social justice sweeping through CrossFit affiliates. CrossFit’s high school musical of dysfunction stopped being interestimng years ago. Many of the original enthuasiast have moved on or been cowed into slience or indifference. And what’s left is people who either got into the affiliate business based on the myth of the brand, you know, our warm-ups are like your workouts yadda yadda yadda, and we are the fittest on earth, community, blah, blah, blah. And, some are just wounded warriors that managed to outlast all the affiliates that came before them, the ones that soared and crashed, and they’re basically the last ones standing, just happy to be alive and doing what they, no doubt, truly love. You can believe in the sincerity of these affiliates when they say they are disgusted by Glassman’s comments, but you can’t give them a pass for trying to separate CrossFit from the comments of its eminence grise and the culture that he is ultimately responsible for and has repeatedly defended.
The Affiliate Diet: Having and Eating Your Cake
De-affiliation is something that isn’t over. How can it be when, ultimately, money from affiliates is still going into the pockets of the very man who has started the movement away from CrossFit? When I read things about how CrossFit is a great community and it was built despite what CFHQ did, it sounds great to the people who are trying to make sense of all of this inside CrossFit, but it makes absolutely no sense to those of us on the outside, in the real world.
Again, I don’t fault affiliates and CrossFit fanboys from trying to justify everything and try and place it within the context of some reactionary political movement or peak in the zeitgeist, but that tends to forget that what happened recently is only one point in an arc that bends towards dickishness.
To be fair, the following video by Andy Stumpf needs to be seen as a counterpoint to what I am saying, but if you only listen to minute 16 onwards, you kind of go, Dude, why end it with a meaningless kumbaya session with the powers that are now at CFHQ when it’s nothing more than a polishing the turd moment? I was about to pick up a pitchfork and join a crowd heading for CFHQ after minute 16.
The biggest, not the biggest, the best response that I can give you is that I’m actually surprised that it has taken this long. And I asked myself a couple years ago when it was in the middle of the me too movement. And I was watching some of these reports come out and I asked myself, how in the fuck does this happen? How does behavior like this occur and how is it allowed to continue to occur? And then I had the crashing realization that I know exactly how it happens because I was complicit in allowing this to happen. At least in the interactions that I observed or heard in my time working for CrossFit headquarters, I cannot count the number of times that derogatory and specifically sexual comments were made about female staff members directly in my presence. Sometimes the staff members were not there and oftentimes they were in mixed company.
And very often the overtures were far more overt. It was an open secret as to who was potentially in the sexual crosshairs for Greg. And whether that manifested in uncomfortable travel arrangements as for female staff members, traveling with Greg and a trip is coming up, but only one hotel room is booked or female employees sitting alone in a vehicle with the CEO being what Greg prefers from his women. Or even to me directly being told from Greg that he suffers from the same thing that Tiger Woods does, and the list goes on and on and own. And the closer that you got to Greg, the more that you saw and the closer that you got to Greg, and the more that you saw and the less that you did or what essentially, it seems like all of us did, which was nothing. The more we enabled this behavior, the things that I talked about, abroad examples, and I’m intentionally being broad because I don’t want to drag anybody else into this other than those that need to be, but there are so many of these stories to tell.
Not enough for you? How about:
And the bottom line is they’re not mine to tell, but these people deserve a platform. And the reason that they’re not talking now is because of fear.
I’m going to give one more example in the hopes that it provides some clarity, color and context into the environment that some of these women had to tolerate. Imagine a female employee that had spent already plenty of time in Greg’s crosshairs. And I say that based off of what I saw, what I heard and comments made directly to me from Greg. This female employee is in a vehicle, mixed company.
She happens to be in a relationship with a deployed service member and Greg inquires about that service member and finds out that he is currently four deployed overseas. His response to that information directly to this employee was let’s hope that we get to name a Hero WOD after him soon. And for people who don’t know what a HERO WOD is, that’s a workout that is named after somebody who was killed in service of their country over overseas or law enforcement first responder here in the United States. And there is no more precise window into the environment with which some of these people had to operate. Then that statement from the CEO and that individual owns 100% of CrossFit inc.
It’s not enough for CrossFit affiliates to act like deer caught in the headlines when they know exactly who they were dealing with and were well aware of what was going on. You can’t have your cake and eat it – that’s why cliches exist.
I know that on Facebook or somewhere, someone from Breaking Muscle said that we are done with CrossFit and we’ll just call them box gyms. I am not sure if that will work, but I do know one thing, you can call them all Rogue gyms and you’d probably do just as well.
Everything in this affiliates is from Rogue, they hang the banners, the company has a good brand and even if they have skeletons in their closets they’re not filming them and put them on social media so, there’s that.
In the early 70s, Nautilus equipment created a big shift in the bodybuilding equipment world and the brand actually drove a segment of the gym business. Rogue can do pretty much the same thing, and they have, if you want to get into it, done more than CFHQ by venturing into maces, strongman, powerlifting, and all kinds of different product lines that, interestingly enough, equate to certain workout methodologies.
So, drop CrossFit, become a Rogue gym, and let Rogue market the crap out of bars, bells, assault bikes, rowers and all the other stuff that reformed CrossFitters will need to keep doing what used to be called a workout.