To Top

The Uglier Side of CrossFit: CrossFit Mean Streets’

CrossFit Mean Streets' With a Passed Out Homeless Man

CrossFit Mean Streets’ With a Passed Out Homeless Man

Like everything in life, CrossFit can also have a less glamorous side to it.

Last Thursday, a few days before the fittest man and female were crowned at the 2012 CrossFit Games in Carson, LA Weekly posted a story about a well respected CrossFit affiliate doing something most of those in the sport would frown on.

Members of CrossFit Mean Streets, a gym located on the edge of Skid Row at 265 S. Main St, recently posted a number of photos on their Facebook page, posing with a passed out homeless man.

Gym owner Ronnie Teasdale along with Wayne Willette, owner of CrossFit CrownTown in Corona, and several other CrossFitters smiled for the camera as they posed over the slumped out man in front of Teasdale’s truck.

Aris Gregorian, a coach at CrossFit Crown City in Pasadena, was also involved, holding a CrossFit shirt above the homeless man.

The image was one of many pics posted on their Facebook page. Others included the homeless man passed out with a CrossFit shirt laid out on his back with the caption “Free Gift”.

Another one shows the man struggling to lift a Strongman’s Atlas stone. This caption was added when it was uploaded to their Facebook page:

“This guy came in looking for work … said he was stronger than all of us and could unload a whole truck of concrete bags … so logically we had to test it out and have him lift a concrete ball. … His form is perfect.”

Homeless Man Struggling to Lift an Atlas Stone

Homeless Man Struggling to Lift an Atlas Stone

When CrossFit HQ got wind of the story they were quick to act, with spokesperson Lisbeth Darsh referring the matter to police.

CrossFit’s legal counsel, Dale Saran, was also quick to avoid blame, stating:

“You framed this as if CrossFit is somehow responsible for what Ronnie Teasdale or anyone in those pictures is alleged to have done. If a United Airlines pilot goes off and does something wrong, it’s on him, not all of United Airlines … unless what he did is the direct result of a UA policy or procedure.

“I don’t suppose that you’re claiming that CrossFit has a policy or predilection against the homeless. No responsible journalist or person could.

Teasedale himself was quick to apologize for the incident.

“I would like to be the first to say that those posts were inappropriate and did not highlight the best aspects of our gym or the CrossFit community,” he said.

“I am removing all of the questionable content from Facebook and my website. We are also in the larger process of changing the image of our gym as a whole.”

It’s unclear how many other notable CrossFit athletes were involved with taking the photos. Andrea Ager, who finished 5th at the SoCal Regionals this year is one of many to train out of the gym.

It’s also unclear if HQ will punish CrossFit Mean Streets’ over the incident.CrossFIt Mean Streets

  • Jameschristensen

    I dont think putting these photos up is appropriate….it has been dealt with enough said 

    • Timothy Donegan

      Its for the public to know, Ronnie is becoming the “bad boy” of crossfit

    • An Embarrassed Crossfitter

      Not sure how it’s been dealt in your book.  Still haven’t seen any punishment handed down.

  • afto

    was wondering if you guys saw this or not

  • Nels

    Wow, so sad

  • another display of poor judgement, such a shame.

  • ErickDiazSoto

    Not cool at all.

  • sad, very sad…

  • There are always some bad apples

  • Philip

    I can see how you might get a little jaded living in LA…

  • I would like to see HQ actually do something to Mean Streets.  They were quick to come after the guy behind Beastmodal Domains for TALKING badly about Crossfit.  How does it look that actual affiliates doing this kind of garbage are let off.

  • Willjohnson612

    Ronnie is a bad apple. He is the guy who thew a loaded bar at his judge for giving him a no rep at the SoCal throw down.

  • Donas1987

    this sucks.

  • Texas Crossfitter

    everyone’s so testy and politically correct. jeez. get over yourselves (all who got way too offended by harmless joke). i understand if the business owner is angry about being misrepresented but for goodness sakes who’s fault is it that the homeless man passed out stupid drunk on the pavement.

    • Texas Crossfitter

      it’s the homeless man’s own damned fault. yes, a massively sad situation. but still his own damned fault, so no one’s hurting anyone by playing a joke on the guy and giving him a free shirt in the process, which he needs anyway

      • I Just Messed With Texas

        You, idiot, apparently didn’t read the entire article.  They were also encouraging homeless people to lift atlas stones for their entertainment, laughing at people who broke their arms on the gym equipment, pointing shotguns at people, and bragging about getting into fights with people.  Horrible, juvenile behavior that’s unfit to be associated with Crossfit.

        • Texas Crossfitter

          damn you’re right, shoulda read the whole article. my bad. that said, the picture of the putting the shirt on the poor drunk who can’t get ahold of himself, as an isolated incident, is pretty harmless, imo. of course, i guess it wasn’t an isolated incident. thank you for messing on me.

  • JJ3CF

    If I were a member or future member of this affiliate, I would not want to be a member.  CrossFit is about a COMMUNITY promoting fitness.  It’s unfortunate that a “few laughs” some deem as funny possible hurt the reputation of all CrossFitters.  I would support HQ’s decision, if made, to strip all individuals associated with these photos their affiliate status and their CrossFit certifications (with a 2-5 year probation that will allow them to recert, but not own an affiliate).

  • PRfitness

    I work for Ronnie Teasdale, This is a statement he released to his gym members. I think you should take the time and read this.There are two sides to every story. Why would someone so awful be successful and admired by so many? Please read this and take the time to ask yourself that question.

    “Hey everyone. 

    A few weeks ago the LA Weekly posted an article, which used some photos from our gym’s Facebook account as a frame for a hit piece against both our gym and the CrossFit community as a whole. I been trying to contact the LA Weekly for the last few weeks to get them to correct some of the misstatements in the article, or at least to print a response, and they have yet to reply.

    I know some of you are being approached by outsiders and do not know what to say about the comments you are receiving. I want all of you to know that we are all about goodness and all about Downtown Life. That is why we are located here. We love this community and do what we can to help it. So just so you know, here is what actually went down:

    Many of the pictures in the article are over 2 years old. Let me be clear about who the people in the pictures are: They are not homeless people. They are alcoholics who are regulars at the bars nearby the gym. We know their names and have interacted with them over the time the gym has been open, including getting them help when needed. I don’t condone the photos, but the implication of the article, which is that the gym was abusing homeless people or refusing to come to the aid of people in need, is false. I could have explained this to the reporter, had he asked me. He did not.

    Those who have been to our gym know that we share a building with 3 bars and the block with many more establishments that serve liquor. Making fun of someone on a private forum– someone I know — who is passed out in front of my business in broad day light after getting drunk is not abusing the homeless. And, frankly, I don’t believe I owe that person any increased amount of respect for being a drunk. This behavior is literally the antithesis of what I stand for. Pretending that behavior of this kind doesn’t exist doesn’t help anyone or make it go away. Our community stands for actually helping people improve their lives, not refusing to confront reality.

    Also, just so everyone is clear, when we see people who are in need in this community, we help them. End of story. Many of you have seen us give genuinely homeless people water or food, or call for medical services for people in need.

    There is also someone with the first name of “Neon” who has made it her full time job to harass, blackmail, and threaten Andrea’s friends and family, and my friends. Please ignore, block, or report her as she has gone off the deep end and has made it her mission to spread hate.

    I thank our community for being here. I am proud for everything I have done regarding the gym. I want it to be known that in the article it says I apologized after being “queried by LA Weekly”. This is also a completely false statement. I was never questioned by the reporter about the album or homeless people. I have not ever mistreated a homeless person, so I would not and could not have given the apology the reporter describes. It is beyond me that lying like this in the press is legal. But I guess this is the way of the world now.

    I am sorry for the fact that someone twisted myself and my actions to attack CrossFit as a program and community. I live my life for CrossFit. 

    I am sorry for the fact that someone twisted myself and my actions to attack CrossFit as a program and community. I live my life for CrossFit. 

    We will get past this article, continue to help build our downtown community, and move forward. Thanks to everyone for their support.

    Below is what I have sent to LA WEEKLY:

    I own Crossfit Mean Streets, the gym depicted in Jonathan Maseng’s recent article titled, “Downtown L.A. CrossFit Gym Debases Homeless Neighbors in Photos, Facebook Posts.” I’d like to take this time to comment on the inaccuracy of the article, and request that a retraction be posted.

    My gym is located on the corner of 3rd and Main, between 5 bars. As a result of this my members and myself have frequent interactions with intoxicated bar patrons, including many bar regulars, on a day-to-day basis. Those are the persons depicted on the photos included in your article—local alcoholics, not homeless people. While I admit that the photos were juvenile and not in good taste and should not have been posted, they were never intended to mock the homeless, as the article suggests. There is very little I can do in the way of dealing with the bar patrons beyond accepting their presence and doing my best to make light of the situation for the sake of my members. My coaches and myself treat everyone that walks through the doors of the gym with respect – I invite you to come have a look for yourself.

    In regard to the article itself – Mr. Maseng took great liberties with this story and apparently did little if any research concerning my gym. He simply does not accurately describe the attitude of our gym or the experience of our members, and he could have learned the truth had he taken the time to adequately prepare the article. He never once reached me, or any of my coaches for comment regarding the issues he describes. The apology he claims I was so quick to give him pertained to a comment he had made on Facebook. A colleague of mine contacted Mr. Maseng to provide the context of the photographs, explaining that all of them were people whom we knew and regularly interacted with, and that none of them were homeless, or mistreated in any way. For reasons unclear to me, Mr. Maseng did not mention any of this, but chose to go forward with a fabricated account of what he felt was interesting in order to sell his story. At a minimum, the photographs contain no newsworthy material. It isn’t fair to present this material in such a way that it so greatly hurts the community, my gym, and myself.

    In fact, I deliberately located Crossfit Mean Streets downtown in order to help build a resource for the community, which is an obligation that my staff and I take seriously. We regularly provide water, food, clothing, and shoes to people suffering in the area, including the homeless and mentally ill. Contrary to the article’s suggestion, we have contacted social services or sought medical care for countless people in need of help. Finally, we currently run a fitness training program for at-risk youth. We have done all of this under the radar because it is the right thing to do, without seeking praise or credit for it, and I mention this only because the article attempts to cast our gym in such a radically different light.

    I’ve spoken with CrossFit HQ regarding the article as well, and was told that Mr. Maseng’s account of his conversation with them is also false. My coaches and I have already taken a great deal of punishment from the CrossFit community as a result of this story. Please take some action to fix Mr.   Maseng’s fraudulent account and provide a retraction.

    Finally, I invite absolutely anyone—old or young, male or female, at any level of fitness—to come to Crossfit Mean Streets and see for yourself if the atmosphere matches that described in the article. Our gym requires hard work—because work produces results—but we are an extremely open, friendly, and diverse community, and we welcome anyone with an open mind interested in improving their health and checking out the sport of fitness.

    I appreciate your help in this matter,”

    Ronnie Teasdale            CrossFit Mean Streets of Downtown LA

    • WTF

      Seriously?  Teasdouche’s excuse is that the photos were bad but taken out of context?  Don’t put dumbass photos on your website then!  And not newsworthy?  Apparently the million people who read the article disagreed.  What an idiot.  

    • TOTALLY FULL OF SHIT RONNIE, excuses and not taking responsibility just highlights what a JERK you are. Drapping addicts with clothes, taking pictures standing over drunks and hopeless addicts is in Very poor taste. These peoples lives have fallen apart, their loved ones are crushed by pain. I volunteer at a Rehab in Sydney, Ive been there myself. Your reply should have been 1 paragraph long, making amends.
      I’d have pulled your franchise agreement for the bad taste and bringing the crossfit name into disrepute. Maybe your only way out of this is to hold a games day with all proceeds going to your local rehab men’s and woman’s refuge, or maybe i need to come over there and kick your ass?

More in NEWS

The Rx Review is an independent fitness website, reporting on the Sport of Fitness, functional fitness news, The CrossFit Games, health and diet related information, and also provides reviews on sports performance products.