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CrossFit Games' decision to award Glock handguns sparks outrage

July 16,2016 11:17

Dave Castro, the director of the CrossFit Games, announced on Wednesday that top men's, women's and each member of the wining team would receive a Glock handgun. Outrage began building soon after Castro made the announcement on Facebook, ...

TOP TRENDING A.J. Perez, USA TODAY Sports 7:12 p.m. EDT July 15, 2016The decision to award winners of this month's CrossFit Games with a gun has resulted in backlash from the event’s title sponsor, Reebok, and from an online petition that has gathered thousands of signatures.Dave Castro, the director of the CrossFit Games, announced on Wednesday that top men’s, women’s and each member of the wining team would receive a Glock handgun. Outrage began building soon after Castro made the announcement on Facebook, including many from within the CrossFit community that see the prize as an endorsement of gun violence.“As the title sponsor of the Games, we unfortunately do not have input regarding other partners or promotions,” Reebok said in a statement provided to USA TODAY Sports. “While we understand CrossFit's foundations are tied to military and first responders, we do not agree with this decision, particularly in light of current events in the United States.”A petition on Change.org asking the CrossFit Games to cancel the handgun prize had gathered more than 17,000 signatures as of 6 p.m. ET on Friday.“CrossFit Inc would not form partnerships with fast food restaurants, alcohol companies, cigarette, or pharmaceutical companies on the same basis,” said Australian Daniel Bartels, who started the petition. “But a gun manufacturer is deemed as a good partner. This is not us. CrossFit is for health, fitness and the well-being of people in all communities. This is not CrossFit. This should never be CrossFit.”The Facebook post that announced the prize has received more than 4,000 comments."As a reward for fitness you can potentially shoot people?" CrossFit devotee Jaimie Horne wrote. "After the worst mass shootings in USA, I hardly feel bringing a community together via guns is in the spirit of Crossfit. Shameful."But Castro remained resolute in an email to USA TODAY Sports on Friday.“Unless the state and federal laws regarding gun ownership in California and the U.S. change in the next week, then no, nothing is changing,” Castro said.The CrossFit Games, which counts ESPN as its broadcast partner, kick off at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., on Sunday.“ESPN televises CrossFit but has no involvement with running the competition or the prizing,” ESPN spokesperson Mike Soltys said in an email to USA TODAY Spots. “We also make no mention of prizes in our telecasts.”While the prize complies with state and federal gun laws, the CrossFit games draw competitors from all over the world. If Katrin Tanja Davidsdottir repeats as the women’s champ, for example, she won’t be able to take a Glock back to her native Iceland, which restricts the types of handguns that will be given away.The top prize for the top men's and women's finishers is $275,000 outside the Glock award. More than $2 million in prize money is at stake overall.

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