My take on Greg Glassman's comments | from WODprep CEO

My take on Greg Glassman’s comments

I had one of the most powerful experiences of my life in a maximum security prison.

I was participating in the world’s first ever prison CrossFit competition.

My wife Shelby and I were incredibly nervous going in.

After all, basically all the inmates had been convicted on extremely serious charges. Several were in for “life without parole.”

But I gotta say –

Within 30 minutes of entering the prison, all my preconceived ideas went out the window.

Not only was the competition the most diverse group of people I’ve ever seen compete…

It was by far the friendliest and most welcoming atmosphere I’ve ever experienced as a competitor.

No matter the religion, race, color, tribe, creed –

Everyone was there to do one thing: “suffer” together through rowing, thrusters, burpees, and double unders. 

We were all one team united together for one cause.

I’ve never seen so many high fives and people rooting for each other. 

And I remember at the end of a particularly hard TTB/Lunge WOD, over 200 people were screaming and cheering for the “last team standing” as they finished their reps.

It was beautiful.

After the event was over, a few of the inmates came up to me and asked if I could help teach them bar muscle ups. 

15 minutes later we had multiple people doing their first bar muscle ups, which was cool.

The most magical, and important part?

During our bar muscle up practice I watched a couple members of a white supremacist gang high-five-ing, hugging, & fist bumping some of the black athletes.

These guys have full blown white supremacist “symbols” tattooed to their faces proclaiming their racism.

And yet…

They were embracing people that they (apparently) outwardly and publicly hate.

Turns out, after talking to one of the event organizers, this is common at Redemption Road CrossFit.

In fact, several members of the gym have completely denounced their former gang/racist affiliations because of the camaraderie created during their CrossFit class WODs.

How does this story relate to Greg Glassman’s comments?

Our community CAN help knock down the walls of racism. Our community CAN rise together and take a stand for what is right. Our community is not just about helping the upper middle class get slightly better at exercising more quickly. It can be used to transform people’s perceptions. 

I’ve seen it firsthand, and I’m vowing to make sure WODprep does it’s part to see that it happens more frequently.

So, just to be clear:

  • I think Greg Glassman’s comments were tone deaf, idiotic, and racist.
  • Not ONE SINGLE DOLLAR goes to CrossFit HQ from WODprep. We are not affiliated with them in any way, shape or form.
  • I support all the boxes and athletes who are disaffiliating from CrossFit HQ. It’s the right move as long as the founder is still reaping rewards from the brand. Note: If your affiliate hasn’t immediately jumped to this conclusion, give them a chance to take a deep breath! This is a tough time for a lot of people. Speak clearly about your position, and give them a little time. They will come around.

OK, enough talk.

ACTION is how we move forward.

How are we going to make a change? And not just something “feel good” – but something that can make a real impact?

As the WODprep Team knows, I’ve always wanted to expand our footprint beyond simply helping people RX more workouts. 

I’ve always wanted to find a way to share functional fitness with people that might not ever make it to a $175/mo gym. 

Here’s my plan:

Going forward, WODprep will donate 1% of all revenue, FOREVER, to a non-profit that will provide grants and scholarships to make functional fitness memberships and coaching certificates more accessible and affordable. 

This non profit will also run “foundations” classes for free to help expose people to functional fitness methodology in areas that do not have access or means to go to a functional fitness gym.

I will be serving on their board of directors, and donating time, courses, and coaching.

We’re still working on the official name, but the 501c3 paperwork is already in place here in Colorado. 

Our mission?

To make group community fitness classes and coaching certificates financially accessible to everyone – no matter which race or socioeconomic background.

So that all people can have the opportunity to experience the transformative power of functional fitness. 

This isn’t a “one time event”.

This isn’t a flash in the pan.

This is for good.

It it going to “solve everything”? Absolutely not. 

But I hope it’s a step in the right direction. It’s a way that we can use our resources to take action, even if just a small one. 

Because that’s what it’s going to take to bring our community together – action, and putting our money where our mouth is.

I’m actively working with this (yet unnamed) nonprofit organization to officially “launch” this project soon. 

I’ll be in touch with more information about how it works, who it’s for, and how to support their mission. 

Stay tuned. 

I’m trying to listen as much as possible right now.

So, I want to hear from you.

How do you feel about Greg Glassman’s comments, and this situation with CrossFit HQ as a whole?

Please comment below and let me know. Every comment gets read. I will read all with an open heart and mind. 

P.S.

“Ben, I’m so confused. What did I miss?!”  

Not sure why people are upset with CrossFit HQ and it’s founder, Greg Glassman? Here is a breakdown of the multiple things that have transpired over the past few days.

About the Author Ben

The CEO and Head Coach at WODprep, Ben is passionate about helping fitness athletes of all abilities get their competitive edge and learn new skills! He's currently living in Denver, Colorado with his wife and two dogs, and whenever possible the two love to travel and explore new places around the world (and meet new WODprep athletes).

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  • Mark LaCoste says:

    Ben, what you’re embarking on is a great start. As a veteran that’s travelled the world and seen strife first hand, I can tell you that this isn’t a US only issue. That being said, this community we call CrossFit is one of the most blended groups worldwide. The one thing we all have in common is the grind, pain and perseverance to complete the WOD, and make ourselves better. I love this community! I don’t care who you are or where you’re from as long as we can support each other and grind out the workout together.

  • Brad Hamilton says:

    Well said and well done. My take: this is not about one silly tone deaf tweet. This is about silence from HQ in the face of multiple crises and a complete lack of leadership. The insulting, demeaning attitude toward affiliates demonstrated by the puerile email to Rocket CrossFit (n/k/a Rocket Community Fitness). And, a smart-ass tweet with no corresponding comments or commitments to address pandemic issues and racism. This community will survive and probably thrive without CrossFit HQ, which has been withdrawing, disseminating and abdicating its role as a brand and organizer steadily and intentionally over the last 3 years.

  • Andrew Waters says:

    What year was this prison comp?

  • Vinny says:

    Hi Ben, I agree with you that Greg Glassmans comments and actions were totally out of line, idiotic and racist and showed how little he cares for the world community that crossfit created but what I find even worse is the actions of Crossfit HQ (which was absolutely no response whatsoever) which showed that Crossfit as a brand and business didn’t care for the loyalty, support, and financial backing that got them to where they were. I am absolutely ashamed of this whole mess and how destroyed so many peoples livelihoods that centered around crossfit.
    Sorry if my message is a bit all over the place but everything is just so inconceivable.
    Ps Wodprep actions show why I hold you guys in the highest level of respect and admiration.

  • Shelby says:

    People like Ben and the Wodprep team are going to change the world through fitness! Can’t wait to see what they accomplish through this Non-profit!!

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