First it was the coronavirus shutdown and social distancing guidelines that put a local gym on hold. To add insult to injury, the Chanute business has been hit by a corporate scandal.
The Chanute CrossFit gym has changed its name to Iron Ethos Chanute after a controversy involving the CrossFit founder. Iron Ethos Chanute was the original name when owner Satinne Wicker purchased the business in 2012.
Wicker expressed her disappointment in CEO Greg Glassman, who retired from his position on June 9, following backlash over tweets and comments in a conference call about the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and protests after the death of George Floyd, a Minesota man who died while in police custody.
“The CrossFit community has felt shockwaves due to inappropriate and insensitive comments from its founder,” Wicker said. “As I have made clear on social media and to those I have seen in person inside the gym, I do not support his actions or statements.”
Wicker went on to say they have decided not renew the businesses affiliation with CrossFit after being a member for years.
“Our gym is and always has been a community accepting anyone and everyone with open arms, and the culture and environment will continue,” Wicker said.
While the name has changed, Wicker personally programs every workout, so the services they offer will remain the same.
“CrossFit HQ did not provide us with any type of service or support other than collecting our check every year to use the word ‘CrossFit’ in our logo,” she explained.
She went on to add she will continue to wear her CrossFit Chanute gear, because it represents the family and culture they have created over the years.
On June 6, a health research group at the University of Washington, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, tweeted a statement that racism and discrimination are critical public health issues that demand an urgent response. Afterwards, Glassman posted “It’s FLOYD-19.”
Earlier, Glassman told a group of CrossFit affiliates “We’re not mourning for George Floyd – I don’t think me or any of my staff are.”
“Can you tell me why I should mourn for him?” Glassman said in a recording released Tuesday. “Other than that it’s the white thing to do – other than that, give me another reason.”
Glassman and Lauren Jenai founded the company in 2000 when Glassman incorporated elements from high-intensity interval training, Olympic weightlifting, plyometrics, powerlifting, gymnastics, calisthenics and other exercises. Now many gyms have ended their affiliation with CrossFit and sportswear company Reebok ended its corporate association.
The Chanute gym started as Iron Ethos in 2009 and affiliated with CrossFit in 2013. Members had been using a private Facebook group and online Zoom connections for daily workoutsduring the shutdown.
The gym’s website defines Ethos as “The distinguishing character, moral nature or guiding beliefs of a person, group or institution.”