A man in Pittsburgh is seeking legal action after he claimed a gym in his area told him to leave because of his appearance.
Chris Edmonds was at the Planet Fitness in Penn Hills, Pennsylvania, when the incident occurred. According to him, a manager of the establishment asked him to leave because of how he looked.
“Is it my beard?” Edmonds recounted. “Am I tall, am I black, my tattoos? What is it? He said, ‘Yes, all of the above.’”
Edmonds worked out at the gym with his friend, Regis Sauers, and another for two days. While he was just a visitor at the Planet Fitness, he told WPXI that he was discriminated against (video interview below).
“It was blatant [racism],” he said. “The guy told me … He looked me right in my eyes and said, ‘Yeah, that’s why.’”
Edmonds is also the owner of Athletic Trauma Unit, a charitable nonprofit that gives free outdoor workout sessions to those in the community. He says that he was not wearing anything to promote the nonprofit at the time of the incident.
Planet Fitness released a statement from their corporate office reading, “A guest of a Planet Fitness was part of a group leading training sessions generated complaints from other members.”
However, both Edmonds and Sauers claim they were never a part of any group training session.
“I’m an ex-NFL football player,” Edmond said. “I’ve been working out my whole life.
“In my adult years, this is the biggest case of racism I’ve seen and had done to myself," he continued.
"And to be called that to my face and to tell me it was because I’m big and black and bald with tattoos — All things I can’t change,” he told the New Pittsburgh Courier. “I can’t change that I’m black.”
Edmond’s attorney said that he is working on building a case for discrimination. He intends to acquire surveillance video from the establishment.