Time is running out for CrossFit to take a public stand denouncing racial injustice and to begin healing their fractured community. WODDITY stands on the edge of that fracture.
Good morning and welcome to the WODDITY podcast for news about CrossFit. We are a daily podcast, Monday through Friday, doing CrossFit news in five minutes or less.
My name is Ben Garves and today is Friday, the 5th of June, 2020. Don’t forget, links to all of these stories are in the show notes of your friendly neighborhood podcasting app, as well as on the new WODDITY.com.
To black gym owners and their allies in the community, a silent clock has been ticking for more than a week, a month, and for some, years. That clock doesn’t count time as much as it counts down through waning compassion toward CrossFit’s failure to make a public statement condemning racial injustice. As an organization, CrossFit’s “woe is me” attitude through a decade of mistreatment in the health, nutrition, and fitness spaces may be its undoing in this defining moment. I say “defining” because this moment, on theels of major court rulings against the NSCA, sees CrossFit with an opportunity to stop being the victim of undue negativity and start being a leader in a centuries-old fight against systematic oppression.
CrossFit wields more power than most brands in many ways. Unlike other professional sports leagues, their fans get to take their sport to their local gym. They get to compete in the same competitions alongside their idolized athletes. And, now more than ever, they even take their relationship with CrossFit home with them for workouts and interaction with our global community. Even the idea of the Workout of the Day generates daily interaction, when compared to a sport like football, with high school games on Friday, college on Saturday, and NFL games on Sunday.
At the same time, at least outwardly, the name “CrossFit” has become synonymous with both the sport and the fitness prescription, regardless of whether CrossFit is the true owner of what we could just call high-intensity interval training with gymnastics, odd objects, and weights. Let’s be honest: “CrossFit” just rolls off the tongue better.
And since the major changes to CrossFit’s media personnel two years ago, they still have tight reigns on who has deeper exclusive access to their major announcements and events. Something they wield as power over companies trying to tell the community’s story, like Morning Chalk Up, WODDITY, Armen Hammer TV, Talking Elite Fitness, the Buttery Bros, and Team Richey. We are all very deeply aware that our access is dependent on our behavior aligning to CrossFit’s agenda.
Gym De-Affiliates Over Race Relations
But as I said earlier, the clock is ticking on CrossFit’s opportunity to heal their relationship with black America and its allies. Yesterday I saw the first example of a gym choosing to de-affiliate because they’ve been alienated by CrossFit’s silence. And I fear this is just the first domino of many if CrossFit refuses to take a public stance on this topic. I know that I personally have been alienated by their inaction, especially in a time when I find myself speaking to a larger and wider-ranging audience than ever. And shout out to Petworth Fitness for choosing to de-affiliate and donate their affiliation fee to Black Lives Matter DC and Know Your Rights Camp. It sounds like these are more deserving of both the money and the symbolic gesture.
WODDITY to Denounce CrossFit
So here’s the core point I’m trying to make. Following the example of Petworth Fitness and hoping we can continue to be the voice of change in our community, WODDITY will be formally denouncing CrossFit, and its silence, until specific actions are taken by the organization to begin healing race relations in its community. The full announcement will come on Sunday’s Elite Sports Insider live show on YouTube, talking through what you can expect from WODDITY in the future and what steps CrossFit can take to make changes. I know CrossFit won’t miss our 11,000 podcast listeners, and I know some of you will not be taking this journey with me. But it feels disingenuous to report news about an organization so out of touch while real people are suffering.
I know WODDITY stands alone as a media organization in this moment. Companies like Morning Chalk Up have major sponsors like Black Rifle Coffee Company, which in itself is an outwardly bigoted organization. This is a journey I know we embark on alone.
It’s not the end of the podcast, it’s not the end of our elite sports coverage, it’s an opportunity for tremendous growth and thought leadership in a space that we can blatantly say has not been thinking, nor leading.
And that’s it for the WODDITY Podcast for Friday, June 5th. If you’re grateful for having this podcast every morning, there is an easy way for you to show your gratitude. Give us a five-star rating and write a quick review. It means the world to us that you’re here and you appreciate the content. Thanks for listening. For WODDITY, I’m Ben Garves. Behave yourselves out there.