“They Do Not Represent Our Gym”: How CrossFit Affiliates Define Community as They Respond to Racial Controversy

in Sociology of Sport Journal

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Shaun EdmondsAugustana College, Rock Island, IL, USA

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Nancy L. MalcomGeorgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA, USA

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Christina M. GipsonGeorgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA, USA

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Hannah BennettAugusta University, Augusta, GA, USA

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Following the racist comments of the then CEO and CrossFit co-founder Greg Glassman concerning the murder of George Floyd, CrossFit affiliates took to social media to repudiate his statements. Throughout their social media posts, these affiliates struggled with their relationship to the CrossFit brand, the imagined CrossFit community, and the community formed in their local box. Using qualitative thematic analysis of CrossFit affiliates’ Facebook and Instagram posts made during June 2020, we find that the affiliates had a range of responses that included silence, reconsideration of their affiliate status, and social activism. Furthermore, we find that the affiliates’ focus on (re)defining community served to deflect from deeper discussions of systemic racism within CrossFit and the CrossFit community.

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