A Major CrossFit Gym Announced They Will Disaffiliate From The Company, And Others May Follow Suit.
The gym from Seattle recently publicized their disgust with the company and its handlings of various social issues.
On Friday, Alyssa Royse, co-owner of Rocket Crossfit in Seattle, posted a blog to her gym’s website laying out a shocking exchange between herself and top executives for Crossfit. Royse’s email was directed at the CEO for CrossFit Inc., Brian Mulvaney. In her blog post, CrossFit, Black Lives and COVID, it appears the email was also sent to others in the CrossFit company, including co-founder of CrossFit, Greg Glassman, and Head of the CrossFit Games, Dave Castro.
Right at the beginning of her email, Alyssa Royse tells the CEO that her gym will be changing its name from Rocket CrossFit to Rocket Community Fitness and “likely disaffiliating from CrossFit when it’s time to renew.” Outlined in the email are her three most prominent issues with the CrossFit company: Brand, Leadership, and Moral Ambiguity.
Royse starts off talking about the issues she has with the CrossFit brand, as a whole. The gym owner feels CrossFit has no identity as a company, and “there is still a wide perception of what CrossFit is.” She blames this on two factors, the annual CrossFit Games and the company’s troublesome social media. CrossFit’s social media is something Royse brings up consistently throughout her email, citing a few significant incidents. Most recently, a post related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, where the company offensively used the slogan “Flatten The Curve” as a way to get people to lose weight.
Social media is not Royse’s only issue with the brand; the other concern is the purpose of affiliation. In the email, Royse discloses that their gym pays CrossFit $3,000 a year for affiliation. Yet, she claims since there is no brand identity and most people do not know CrossFit, they have no reason to keep affiliation. Rocket Crossfit is not the only CrossFit gym with this complaint, as many CrossFit affiliates feel the same way.
The co-owner of Rocket CrossFit goes on to talk about Leadership; while she knows many of the higher-ups in CrossFit, there was a significant lack of communication from the top. The absence of communication became even more apparent during the recent COVID-19 crisis. Owners and coaches of CrossFit gyms were left wondering what to do as the pandemic hit. Not to mention, many were unsure if they would be able to keep afloat throughout the multitude of lockdowns.
This leads into Alyssa Royse’s third point, and something CrossFit has gotten in trouble for a handful of times, moral ambiguity. In 2019, CrossFit Inc. got in some severe trouble over its stance against the LGBTQ+ community. For their annual Crossfit Games, the company had a rule banning transgender people from participating in the competition. After much backlash for disqualifying transgender women, Chloie Jonsonn, the policy was promptly removed from the rules. Royse also bashed the company for their statements on how they believed the novel coronavirus was not real.
The blog also had a screenshot of Greg Glassman’s insulting and unprofessional response to the gym owner. The founder of CrossFit called Royse “delusional” because of her claims, stated that “ quarantine has adversely impacted your mental health,” and other expletive-filled comments towards the gym-owner.
All this combined, with a few other issues, is why Royse and her husband have decided to disaffiliate with the CrossFit brand. Other gyms may follow suit, especially since the company was extremely late to making any statement about the current protest for the Black Lives Matter’s movement. Four hours after the blog was posted to Rocket CrossFit’s website, CrossFit finally put out a statement on FaceBook. There are still rumors that other large gyms may disaffiliate from CrossFit also. Royse, in her letter to the company, mentions losing other large gyms saying, “ If you lose Rocket, and the other gyms like Rocket, you will be left only with the gyms too afraid to take a stand.” Only time will tell whether or not other gym owners are willing to shun the company for their lack of management and weak values.