After a popular CrossFit spokesperson tweeted that “celebrating ‘pride’ is a sin,” the company immediately fired him and apologized for his actions.
The controversy began after CrossFit Infiltrate in Indianapolis canceled an Indy Pride-themed workout celebrating LGBTQ life. After the event was canceled, the owners used questionable language regarding the queer community, arguing that “true health forever can only be found with humility, not pride,” and that “humility is seeing oneself as they truly are, and as God truly defines them to be,” according to Outsports.
The Indianapolis gym closed less than a day later after coaches, staff, and members left the gym en masse. But before it closed, its Chief Knowledge Officer Russell Berger turned to Twitter, voicing his support for the gym’s decision to cancel the LGBTQ event.
“As someone who personally believes celebrating ‘pride’ is a sin, I’d like to personally encourage #CrossFitInfiltrate for standing by their convictions and refusing to host an @indypride workout,” Berger tweeted Wednesday afternoon. “The intolerance of the LGBTQ ideology toward any alternative views is mind-blowing.”
CrossFit’s official Twitter account responded to Berger’s comments by saying they “do not reflect the views of CrossFit Inc.” and announcing his termination, less than 12 hours after he made his now-deleted tweet.
“CrossFit is a diverse community in every way, and that’s what makes us strong,” the organization tweeted on Wednesday. “No matter who you are, how you’re built, what you believe, or who or how you love—we are proud of you.”
CrossFit is a diverse community in every way, and that’s what makes us strong. No matter who you are, how you’re built, what you believe, or who or how you love—we are proud of you.— CrossFit (@CrossFit) June 6, 2018
The statements made today by Russell Berger do not reflect the views of CrossFit Inc. For this reason, his employment with CrossFit has been terminated.— CrossFit (@CrossFit) June 6, 2018
“I am crazy proud of the gay community in CrossFit.”— CrossFit (@CrossFit) June 6, 2018
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Berger’s comments and CrossFit Infiltrate’s statements raise larger questions about LGBTQ acceptance in both the fitness industry and athletics as a whole. Queer writers have previously argued that LGBTQ gyms are a necessary safe space, especially for transgender Americans looking for training advice specific to their bodies.
Meanwhile, school districts continue to debate whether trans people belong in locker rooms that align with their gender identity, even though one federal judge recently ruled that doing otherwise is sex-based discrimination.