I truly want to let everyone know how proud I am of having a community that can discuss things in an open and civil manner. Not everyone has felt comfortable posting on this forum and several have approached me personally. Others that have been silent in public, I have sought out because I feel that their opinion has more weight than others. I wish I had more time to respond to each conversation directly, as I tried to do originally, but the hours of my free time are not enough. Lacey, Ryan, Ali, and Ashley please forgive me for not responding to your most recent posts directly.
I was going to wait until Friday so that more discussion could be had, but I feel there has been enough time for everyone to say their piece either privately or publicly. There have been tears, hurt feelings, but I value that we can all remain friends and value each other as intelligent people with our own differing points of view. At this time waiting on action for more discussion is causing more harm than good.
Actions speak louder than words. Here is what we are doing as we move forward. In February when our affiliation with CrossFit is up at this point we are choosing not to renew. That is a long ways away, but such is the process of contractual obligations.
If all we did was not renew I would feel that it was an easy out. At Alternative Athletics the affiliate fee has already been budgeted for. I feel that we can do more good by donating those funds to a local charity. I'm open to discussion on where is should go from our community at large, but it will be put to good use. There is a lot of national attention on the Black Lives Matter movement right now, so I feel that our contribution would not have as great of an impact as helping on the issue of un-investigated missing native women. This is something that is in our back yard right now, and not on the national agenda. They need our help. If you have something that is meaningful to you, please bring it to my attention. This will be an annual discussion of what we can do as a community to help in local matters.
Things that I am not going to do. Publicly declare Greg Glassman a racist on any forum. For those that are embarrassed or can no longer associated with our place of business because of that, I'm sorry you feel that way. He is insensitive, arrogant and ill advised on what has come out to the media at large. In no way am I defending him, his statements or actions. He said several things, tried to articulate his original intent and then choose to relinquish power. To say that any of us have never been misunderstood, communicated ourselves poorly and or placed ourselves in a position which required us to apologize for our own actions is inhuman. I will give anyone the benefit of the doubt, because I myself have failed. Everyone has the ability to form their own opinion, no one has the right to dictate what another person's opinion should be.
However, I will not follow or be associated with an ineffective leadership. The choosing of Dave Castro as his successor is a continuation of the same, rather than a change for the better. I can go on at length for those that are interested, meet with me in private. CrossFit is full of intelligent, accomplished, amazing people and there had to have been a better choice available.
We are dissolving our affiliation over many issues, and not just this most recent one.
-Over the years CrossFit has chased off many people that I value and seek information from, Rob Wolf, Mark Twight, Mark Rippetoe, Kelly Starett, Pat Sherwood, Tony Budding and now Nicole Carroll to name a few.
-There has been the give and take of using the word "Pukie's" as our annual competition, in reference to Pukie the clown an old school CrossFit mascot and ending in a cease and desist letter from HQ.
-There was the watering down of things to make it more acceptable to the population at large as they lean towards the sport of fitness rather than the sport of life after their association with Reebok.
-The fight over who had the rights to the annual Fight Gone Bad fund raiser has turned a great and beneficial situation into dust.
- Finally and most importantly to me the trend of CrossFit gyms to equate "Elite Fitness" with the Financially Elite. You don't change the world by catering the rich.
I have never stated that black lives or any other lives were up for debate. I never defended what Greg Glassman said as being correct. I will never assume that my opinion or social sense is definitive in nature. I don't seek others opinion as a way of outsourcing, I value it as I come to a decision that effects a community which to me is family. When I say that anyone is welcome at anytime, it is sincere and honest. The only one that is unwelcome is the person that makes others feel so. Being able to express your feelings does not make you an outsider. It makes you family.
I want everyone to know that I still value the community, research and all the good work that has been done by CrossFit over the 11 years of our partnership. Why has it taken so long to break ties with the corporation? The only reason is this community. People enjoy calling themselves CrossFitters. It is an easy label that describes, hard work, self discipline, a personal responsibility on health and wellness. The label paints a picture with few strokes. In February you will still be a able to call yourself a CrossFitter. We will still recognize CrossFit training as a valid way to become a trainer at our gym, along with USAW, NSCA and having a bachelor's degree in a related field. We will still host the CrossFit open at no cost for those who would like to participate. What you won't be able to do is say that you work out at a CrossFit Gym. We dropped the name off of our sign years ago, but February will be the time that we go our separate ways.
Thank you for participating in this discussion, even if it was only to read the words of others. I value you all. To those that have reached out to make sure that I was doing Ok personally, or made gestures of sympathy concerning the situation at large. I am deeply touched.
From Katie, Friday morning trainer, my wife, founder of Alternative Athletics and Co Owner.
Actions speak louder than words. But apparently, for some people, not so much. Clint and I have spent the last 11 years building a place that is a safe haven for people of every race, creed, and walk of life. We have intentionally built a community that is supportive, with the aim of building stronger humans; physically, mentally, and socially. It is unfortunate that for a handful of people, the actions of 11 years are outweighed by the perception that we have not put out the right words on the internet. I guess we haven’t racked up enough virtue points over the years to outweigh the social pressure of hashtags.
I don’t know Greg Glassman. From what I’ve read and heard I think he’s pretty much an asshole. I think what he tweeted and said was insensitive and tasteless. We are leaving CrossFit for a number of reasons which we are more than happy to discuss with anyone. But I’m not going to put up a post labeling him a racist just because someone tells me to. We are living in a time of knee-jerk reactions and echo chambers. If you think I sound a little bitter, you’re right. I think it’s a natural reaction in this situation.
If you feel passionate about the BLM movement, I encourage you to follow your heart. By all means, protest and post on social media. But don’t forget to also educate yourself about the policies and problems in your local area. Canvas for candidates that run on social justice platforms, join non-elected local committees and action groups, run for local or state office, volunteer your time with local chapters of the NAACP, ACLU, BLM, or other groups. Find leadership from those who have been in the trenches of this battle for years and decades. Find a way that you can make your actions speak for you. If you feel that the first step on this path is leaving the gym, then I support you in that decision.
Demographically, most of Billings is white. Most of our gym community is also white, though we have had members of lots of races, ethnicities, religions, and orientations over the years. The people that have expressed distress because we have not posted a statement denouncing Glassman as a racist are also white. Our non-white members and friends don’t have an issue with us not putting out a statement about Glassman’s comments. We have sought out their opinions on this. We’ve had the conversation. Several of them have, in fact, encouraged us to stay with CrossFit. I’m not saying that white people can’t be in this fight, but I am letting the opinions of our friends of various races inform my own thinking on this. Racism is a crime against humanity at large. But let’s not shout our voices so loud that the cries that need to be heard get drowned out.
For those of you who feel you need to leave our community over this, you will always be welcomed back. People have left us before over things that we have or have not said, some have returned and some have not. Clint and I are human, we have our own beliefs and values, and our own struggles to live up to them. Sometimes we are in the right, and sometimes we’ve been wrong. We have both made and accepted apologies over the years. I regret if some of you feel you need to disassociate from us at this time, but it doesn’t dim the pride I have in what we’ve all built together over the last 11 years. I’m proud of the community we’ve built. I’m proud that we’ve brought people of diverse walks of life together in the shared struggle of workouts. I’m proud that we’ve become something bigger than just a gym.
We will miss those of you who leave us. In the meantime we will continue to speak with our actions. We will continue to fund-raise for causes that are meaningful to our gym community. We will continue supporting our members through fitness, but also with friendship and compassion. We will keep handing out tough love and calling BS when we see it. We will keep banding together when the tough times come, lending our ears to listen, our muscles to work, and our shoulders to cry on for those who need us. Whether we see you tomorrow, or not for years to come, you will always have a home with us.
808 4th Ave N