To Whom It May Concern:
The reason I am writing this letter of address is because I feel that I have been misinterpreted. I recognize this is my own fault. The situation of leaving the Conference left me very jaded, full of animosity that I was not strong enough to keep to myself. I now recognize how I approached this industry was not a manner in which any proclaimed professional should ever attempt. You all have witnessed the worst of me, which to this day has been my darkest time; however, my vengeful emotions have faded away and rationality has returned to me. With that being said, I would now like to share with you the underlying reason as to why I left all my sponsors.
I feel the mindset most professional skaters have is that they love skating so much that it causes them to accept whatever it is they are told and given, no questions asked. But before you disagree with that statement, I urge you to just read on and hear me out. So anyways, these types of passionate mind states most professional skaters have, though praiseworthy, raise a lot of important consequences I think skating, as a community, should consider. But first let it be known, we all recognize skating isnít the most popular activity. If you go to your local skate park, considering there isnít a contest, skaters will be outnumbered by a long shot. I get it, you get it; sales are apparently low in this industry and itís not hard to tell. But how low are we really talking? This is where I had issues with my sponsorship at the Conference.
I feel that as an industry, which constantly likes to broadcast and stress how itís so desperately trying to grow, we should first start out by practicing ethical business models. I feel that this will help strengthen the relationships we keep with others and it will go on to be known how we cherish our professionals, which is a good thing towards building prestige and longevity. The ideal encompassing these ethical business practices I speak of is honesty.
My issues with the Conference were not because I wanted more money but because I felt they were deceiving me. I felt that over the years, I skated by them loyally and supported their brand. I wanted to know why guys in their mid-twenties, who donít have contracts, who donít have health insurance, who make in-between 800 Ė 1300 dollars a month, donít get to know the percentage on their royalty. Knowing the percentage on your royalty, letís one know how much theyíre selling of a particular product with your name on it, in comparison to what that company is taking away profit wise. I couldnít know the information regarding the percentage of my royalty because I was told, ďthere are things as a business we cannot disclose.Ē For example, I was told I was getting a dollar fifty off each pair of skates sold. This made me curious as to what percent that factored into, and more importantly, why was it such a big deal to tell me the percent of that dollar fifty?
This new curiosity to discover what they were hiding is what drove me to act out of character. I thought to myself how could a company who claims they love skating say that to a guy who spent his whole life skating hard for this opportunity? Where was the respect for the professional talent? This is when I really started to feel like I was getting exploited.
After that, I exchanged words with the owner of the Conference and was told that I was now unable to speak to him through email and would now be directed to speaking to Demetrious George and Mark Korte. That just furthered my decent into frustration, because it was like they were blatantly ignoring and mocking my concerns. Overtime it was apparent I was never going to get a long with either of them, and Mark Korte ended up calling The Truth2 a two-year flop in a series of emails explaining how I need to keep my mouth shut if I want to keep my position and paycheck on the team. After this insult, I quit and that ended my sponsorship with the Conference.
Still to this day, I think the reason why they didnít want to reveal the percentage one gets off royalties was because it would show exploitation of the professional talent. No professional for the Conference knows the answer to what his royalty percentages are. This proves no one knows how low sales really are. People who call themselves professionals for the Conference are apparently not interested in knowing percentage details as long as they get paid under the table every month and have the ability to travel with friends. But this ďfor fun activityĒ poses a serious threat to the next generation of skaters who will ultimately have to face and handle sponsorship. If there is deception going on I think people who really care about seeing skating grow need to make a stand. And itís not a stand for more money. Like I said, I was never upset with the paycheck I got from the Conference. I was upset because I felt like my loyalty deserved to know what I was selling percentage wise.
I donít think you can blame a man for demanding to know the truth behind a product with his name on it. We should all be practicing ethics like that in all forms of business. If professionals choose to let this go unaddressed I feel that there not only selling the craft of professional skating short, but theyíre selling short our future as skaters who want to grow. Handling our selves and looking out for our worth is something every professional must face, no matter what industry or market theyíre hired to work for. Choosing to carelessly ignore the information of sales surrounding a product with your name on it shows a lack of professionalism in my opinion. And to further that, what other industries have proclaimed professionals without contracts? If we want to grow we have to practice the business models that have been instilled into our economy, plain and simple.
I also want to point out that Iím not trying to single out the Conference; I am just using them as an example from my own experience. I think if you run a business in skating and your selling a product with someoneís name of it, than be honest and open about it to that skater. That statement goes for everybody in the skate industry. Skating isnít a huge market with tons of money to be made, and professionals risk so much to skate. These professionals do it out of pure love even through the uncertainty of it all.
But that is just my own point of view based on my own personal experiences as a professional skater. And I recognize the point of all this fuss was over what I assumed to be exploitation behind hiding a royalty percentage. And sometimes the mother of all fuck ups is assumption. I should not have ever assumed other skaters were naive. Perhaps my peers who skate professionally for the Conference are fine with this practice, and donít feel thatís necessary information for growth. Who am I to judge another man for how he chooses to look after the worth of his craft? Just like skating is for the self, how we handle our personal business negotiations are matters for the self as well. I was wrong to go on a rampage of derogatory name-calling and insults. It completely ruined what I wanted to address and looking back on it I feel regret, however; that doesnít change the fact I still feel there is deception at hand.
Another issue I wanted to address was the reason I quit Street Artist Wheels and Create Original Frames was because I didnít want to be representing a company that sponsored people affiliated with the Conference. That was very immature of me. They were decent sponsors, and they were honest to me about all matters of sales and operations. I did them wrong in the end, and if they happen to read this I want them to know I am apologetic. I just needed time to clear my head. Currently, I still am skating and I am going to continue to skate. My true passion has always been for making skate videos, which you can bet I will be doing in the future with my brother Sean.
Finally, I just want to clarify I donít have any hate or dislike toward anyone, any state, any country, or any continent. I also do not hate any skater or company, professional or not. Even if you have heard me speak badly about someone on a message board, I want you to know I want to take all those words back. No longer do I have emotional issues anymore because like skating needs time to grow, so do I. This experience has taught me a lot about the industry, skaters, and myself. Thanks for bearing with me for those who never lost faith, and to those who have lost faith in me, I hope you can give me another shot in the future.
Thanks for your time,