This past summer of 2020 was a tough stretch for us as a gym. COVID had just broken out in the spring and we’d barely come out of the shutdown period imposed on all gyms. The Black Lives Matter movement was in its full swing following the tragic death of George Floyd. It was then that Greg Glassman, founder and (at the time) CEO of CrossFit, made his racially insensitive social media comment that cause a major uproar in the CrossFit world.
Many of you will remember hundreds, and maybe thousands, of us gyms distancing ourselves from Glassman’s comments and taking a stance in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. We changed our name from CrossFit South Arlington to South Arlington Fitness & Nutrition to make it clear our strong objection to CrossFit headquarter’s underwhelming support of African Americans in this country.
Other gyms went beyond changing the name, they completely de-affiliated. They cancelled or chose not to renew their agreement to license the term CrossFit in their business operations. We, as a gym, did not do that. Our agreement was set to expire later this year, in November, and we felt that giving up on all of CrossFit would be like throwing the baby with the bathwater. CrossFit to us is more than its headquarters, it is the athletes, the small business owners, the coaches, the entire communities of people that make it great. We wanted to find a way to save CrossFit from itself by working from within.
We had many conversations with other gym owners, joined panel discussions, created social media posts on the matter. Eventually, a way to solve the problem presented itself. Under the extreme public pressure within his own circles, Greg Glassman resigned as CEO and later sold CrossFit, the company, to a new owner, Eric Roza, a man who is a CrossFit athlete, affiliate owner, and successful businessman from the tech industry.
Fast forward to today. We’ve now had several opportunities to hear Eric Roza speak, propose changes, make statements, and generally lay out his direction for CrossFit, the company and the brand. Key influencers within the CrossFit organizations have returned, after having resigned in the first place. Many gyms have chosen to re-affiliate after regaining confidence in the future of the sport.
All of that has made us feel cautiously optimistic. Enough so that we have officially decided to continue our CrossFit affiliation for the next year. We don’t know what the long term future holds, but we do know that we’ve seen enough to make us believe that diversity within CrossFit will not be relegated to the background. We envision a better and brighter, more inclusive, future for CrossFit in 2021 and beyond.
We will always dedicate ourselves to being a place that welcomes people of all ages, races, sexes, genders, fitness levels, backgrounds, and beliefs. As long as we have confidence that CrossFit HQ is supporting us on this path and echoing our principles, then we are happy to continue the journey.
As for our name, well, let’s just say the whole Glassman episode opened our eyes to new possibilities. We’ve always felt connected to the worldwide CrossFit community, but not nearly anywhere as connected to our members that show up to our building. You are what matters to us, the people we serve. What we do within our four walls is our identity, and it is more than just CrossFit. It is building sustainable fitness & health for everyone and into any age. It is building bada** people that do bada** things inside and outside the gym.
When we changed the name to South Arlington Fitness & Nutrition, we said it was an interim name. We’re letting you know today that we are actively working on a new name, logo, colors, brand. It will be something that represents us & you, the strong, driven, high integrity folks of this gym community. We hope to have an official rebranding done in the new year, electronic fireworks and all. It will be glorious.
Until then, we keep doing what we do, train, coach, improve, learn, and achieve.