After a ton of negative publicity (and likely more than a few complaints from his clientele), an Atlanta gym owner named Jim Chambers has taken down a controversial sign that said, among other things, that police were not welcome to work out at his establishment. The sign, which also advised “Crossfit cultists” to find somewhere else to get their exercise, finished with a stark message to anyone who wears the blue uniform: NO F***ing Cops!
When a military veteran offended by the sign alerted a local news station, they tracked down Chambers, who was not at all apologetic about it.
“It was really just the vulgarity in that sign, and that seems to bring it out for people,” Chambers told 11Alive News.
Right, a military vet was disturbed by the F-word. That makes sense.
Chambers said he took the sign down for the good of the EAV Barbell Club but maintained that the policy against police would remain in place.
“I didn’t want the other folks there to take the heat that I’m willing to take,” Chambers said. However, he noted, “We’ve had an explicitly stated ‘No Cop’ policy since we opened, and we also don’t open membership to active members of the military.”
The news station asked the Atlanta Police Department what they thought about the sign, and they responded about as diplomatically as possible.
“Were we to respond to an emergency there, this sign would not stop us from lawfully doing our job,” the department told 11AliveNews.
Chambers said cops were welcome at the gym…as long as they had a court order.
“If they have a warrant, they can go anywhere they want, but we’re not breaking the law,” Chambers said.
Chambers describes EAV Barbell Club as a “radical, left-friendly” space and said that minorities were uncomfortable about having police around.
“We wanted one space that was just a little different. It’s not an aggressive, hetero-jock space that’s dominated by cops and soldiers,” he told the local NBC affiliate. “It’s a place where you’re safe from that. And we don’t want to make police stronger so that they can hurt people more efficiently. It’s not a personal thing, but if you put that uniform on, and quite honestly I view that as an occupying enemy army.”
Well, it’s a free country, and we stand by Chambers’ right to exclude cops and soldiers from gym membership if he wants to do that. We don’t, however, understand his underlying philosophy at all, and we think it’s abhorrent that a business owner would promote what is already a sick environment when it comes to anti-police hostility. And while Chambers appears to be quite sure that his club will never need police to respond to an incident, he may find out that life has all kinds of surprises in store for those who cling to unwarranted certainty. Especially when your business specifically caters to people who have an unhealthy fear of police. There’s usually a reason for that…