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Cambodia’s CrossFit Amatak criticises founder’s George Floyd remarks

Jose Rodriguez T. Senase / Khmer Times Share:
Fitness buffs doing some exercise at the CrossFit Amatak gym in Phnom Penh. Facebook

The Cambodian affiliate of CrossFit has joined the chorus of sports companies, gyms and others who have lashed out at the ‘insensitive‘ remarks on the George Floyd killing by its chief executive and founder, Gregg Glassman.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation earlier tweeted that “Racism and discrimination are critical public health issues that demand an urgent response. #BlackLivesMatter.”

Glassman responded to that tweet with” It’s FLOYD-19”, apparently referring to the man whose death at the hands of the Minneapolis police sparked protests not only in the United States (US), but also in other parts of the world.

“CrossFit Amatak does not agree with statements made by CrossFit Founder & CEO Greg Glassman over Twitter. We believe these to be both insensitive and wrong,” a post on its Facebook page read.

“Amatak is made of a diverse community of supportive individuals. We and CrossFit, are more than the insensitive remarks of this one person,” it added.

However, unlike many of its counterparts in the US, CrossFit Amatak is apparently not severing its ties with the CrossFit brand.

Glassman later apologised for his remarks, but not before a barrage of criticisms from sports companies, CrossFit-affiliated gyms and others.

Reebok, the sportswear giant, went even further by announcing it will end its ties with CrossFit. Reebok had earlier inked an exclusive 10-year agreement wherein it became the main CrossFit sponsor and licensee of CrossFit apparel.

Likewise, many affiliates in Washington, D.C., Michigan, Washington and other states which pay to use the CrossFit name, dropped their affiliation with the branded workout programme.

“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,” Glassman said in a statement released shortly after the firestorm erupted. “It was a mistake, not racist but a mistake. Floyd is a hero in the black community and not just a victim. I should have been sensitive to that and wasn’t. I apologise for that,” he added.

CrossFit Amatak described itself as the ‘first CrossFit in Cambodia’. Located in the Toul Tumpung area of Phnom Penh, CrossFit Amatak was established in 2014 by a group of locals and expats.

Glassman and Lauren Jenai founded the CrossFit exercise brand in 2000. As of 2019, there are more than 15,000 CrossFit affiliates in the US, United Kingdom, Australia, Thailand, Taiwan, France, China and more than 140 other countries.

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