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Local gym drops association with CrossFit, after the founder's controversial George Floyd tweet

CrossFit 616 now becomes 616 FIT. It's a move the owner called "a no-brainer."

WALKER, Mich. — CrossFit 616 is now called 616 FIT.

That's after the owners, Tom and Cori Sullivan, say the CrossFit brand no longer aligns with the gym's values and visions. 

"It goes into our beliefs as individuals, as owners," said Tom Sullivan, "our Christian beliefs and our belief in humanity, equal rights and standing up for what we believe."

We are 616 Fit! Our community has always been and will continue to b... e who we are. As a community full of love, we're learning, we're growing. Let's keep forging ahead! Please give us grace as we switch everything over. "Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed.

This comes after CrossFit founder Greg Glassman found himself in the middle of controversy, after an insensitive tweet both about coronavirus and the death of George Floyd. 

Saturday, The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) declared in a tweet "racism is a public health issue."

Glassman replied, "It's FLOYD-19."

RELATED: CrossFit founder, dropped by Reebok, apologizes for George Floyd tweet

"It was a really quick decision, it wasn't even a discussion for us," said Sullivan. "To say this doesn't align with our values and our community's, it's a no-brainer for us to move on."

Glassman did apologize for his tweet. On the CrossFit company Twitter account, he wrote, "I, CrossFit HQ, and the CrossFit community will not stand for racism. I made a mistake by the words I chose yesterday. My heart is deeply saddened by the pain it has caused. It was a mistake, not racist but a mistake.” 

RELATED: CrossFit founder, dropped by Reebok, apologizes for George Floyd tweet

CrossFit was already the subject of criticism online, as many people on Instagram noted the company remained silent on the Black Lives Matter movement. Many other brands posted public posts denouncing racism. 

Also, a Seattle-based CrossFit gym's owner wrote a letter to Glassman. She wanted to express concern over that silence. Glassman's response went viral, where he called the owner delusional and claimed quarantine affected her mental health. 

This will almost certainly become a series, because it's just too big not to. CrossFit has stayed silent for too long as our country is at a time of reckoning for centuries of systemic racism. They have been called out by countless gyms and athletes and brands alike for their silence.

"Hearing CrossFit not say anything," said Sullivan, "Silence says volumes; it's defeating."

Apparel brand Reebok ended a 10-year deal with CrossFit. Many of its top athletes have spoken out against the founder's words. 

Sullivan said the affiliation with CrossFit was $3,000 a year. However, changing their affiliation won't affect the gym's programming or coaching. He said they were largely paying for the brand name and recognition of CrossFit. 

"It's just standing up for what we believe," said Sullivan, "We're willing to work harder in other areas to make up for not using the CrossFit popular name."

Sullivan said that includes new signage and branding, plus re-printing clothing. However, that $3,000 they spent on the affiliation will be put to good use. 

"There’s a lot of cool stuff we can do with that money," said Sullivan, "in terms of scholarships, giving it back to our members, gym equipment. That’s a lot of money that can go toward other things in a really cool way."

The past few months have been challenging already, as the stay at home order shut their doors. On Monday, they began offering outdoor classes after the governor allowed socially distant outside workouts. Sullivan said the response has been great. 

RELATED: The Barre Code GR hosts outdoor fitness classes amid restrictions

"Six a.m., we were outside, and again at 7:30 a.m., we had good full classes," said Sullivan. "People we haven't seen in two months, ten weeks or so. It’s getting that normalcy back. It’s weird to coach from six feet away, but we can still get what we need to across and our members can get the full value they normally pay for out of coming to a class and getting a coach."

And now, Sulilvan said despite the re-branding, they are ready to hopefully open the inside of the gym again, just with a new name and logo. 

"Right as we're ramping up ready to get going again, this comes on and is just a shock wave to the entire Crossfit community," said Sullivan, "Including our own people. But because it's such a community-based gym, the support has immediately been outstanding. Our people stand with us because they stand with what's right."


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