LAFAYETTE — Mark 'Tiger' Pharr opened Big Cat CrossFit six years ago, after being a member at another CrossFit gym.
"The methodology is really sound, and that's what we all fell in love with," Pharr said.
On Monday, Pharr changed the name to Big Cat Total Fitness, dropping his affiliation with CrossFit. It's a decision that comes after a tweet mocking the death of George Floyd was sent by the owner and founder. Greg Glassman's tweet was in response to a tweet made by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, that said, "Racism is a public health issue." Glassman responded with, "It's Floyd-19."
It's FLOYD-19.— Greg Glassman (@CrossFitCEO) June 6, 2020
He has now stepped down after major backlash. On Tuesday, CrossFit made the announcement Glassman is retiring.
“I’m stepping down as CEO of CrossFit, Inc., and I have decided to retire. On Saturday I created a rift in the CrossFit community and unintentionally hurt many of its members. Since I founded CrossFit 20 years ago, it has become the world’s largest network of gyms. All are aligned in offering an elegant solution to the vexing problem of chronic disease. Creating CrossFit and supporting its affiliates and legions of professional trainers has been a labor of love."
Members at the local gym say the comment took a clear stance.
"It divided us and it didn't bring us together. We're a community for bringing people together, for working out together, for fitness, common goals, and we're not about taking each other apart," Skyler Williams said.
"The community is very inclusive, very welcoming of everyone, and his comments are 180 degrees from that," Pharr added.
Big Cat Total Fitness isn't alone. An online survey conducted by The Morning Chalk Up lists more than 1,000 gyms across the world cutting ties with CrossFit.
Here in Lafayette, Ragin' CrossFit told our media partners at The Advocate that they were also changing their name. That story can be found here.
"I think you'll see a lot of that from the affiliates, un-affiliating themselves because of his comments," Pharr said.
"I understand why, what was said, was inexcusable," said Williams. "I'm for them dropping their affiliations as well."
Pharr says he'll be painting over the logos at his gym and ordering new merchandise as soon as possible.
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