Keita Demming loves CrossFit. He's done it all around the world including here at the Academy Of Lions. It's helped him find higher states of fitness and even led to some powerful bonding moments with his dad back in his native Trinidad. But right now, he's not sure if he can support it anymore.
A few days ago, CrossFit Inc, the company that licenses all CrossFit affiliates around the world and organizes the annual CrossFit Games, announced a partnership with a gun manufacturer that provides the winners of next weekend's CrossFit Games a handgun as a prize.
This decision has thrown the entire CrossFit community into upheaval. In a climate of police shootings, terrorist attacks and mass right wing hysteria, this decision has made many question their allegiance to CrossFit.
Soon after the announcement, Keita posted a very passionate and elucidating response to the CrossFit Inc. partnership on an Academy Of Lions Facebook group. It prompted a lot of conversation and most of all support. You can read his post below.
Keita has been on the front lines of social justice and innovation for many years and is uniquely qualified to offer perspective on this issue. He's a Ph.D. candidate working in a space that merges organizational learning, theory, and practice related to business and social innovation. Five years ago, he became the license holder, curator, and organizer for the TEDxPortofSpain in Trinidad & Tobago. He is a thought leader, believing that companies and brands have a responsibility to recognize the values present in their community - not only for social value but also for their business objectives.
The issue is a complex one. It touches on deeply held beliefs, systemic racism, 2nd amendment rights and the role of leadership in an inclusive community like CrossFit. It's not an issue that can be neatly wrapped-up and begs larger discussion.
After Keita's post, I invited him on the podcast to unpack many of these issues and look at the angles. We get into a lot of stuff, including the military history of CrossFit, how the leadership at CrossFit Inc. is being perceived and even offer some strategy for CrossFitters and affiliate owners who are looking to take a stand or re-evaluating their place within the community.
It's a good discussion and despite what we may think of CrossFit right now, it's very reassuring that this community is working to produce possible solutions and perspective.
- Dhani Oks
Dhani Oks / Academy Of Lions Founder / @dhanioks
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