Warning -- rant about Nike and skateboarding ahead: Don't read it and then complain in your comment that I'm just ranting about nothing. It's something to me.
I understand that business is business, and there are cultural differences in the way business is conducted. But when that business is skateboarding, I believe that the culture of skateboarding should remain constant. And when one "skateboarding company" blocks permits of another in the name of business, that's really screwed up. Yet this is what Nike did. Nike has a relationship with the government of Mexico City because they've done some good work there, including recently building a great skatepark. But to block a permit for Emerica to gather at Monumenta a la Revolucion because they can -- because they have pull with the government due to money they spent on a skatepark -- is so counter-intuitive it makes me wanna throw up.
Emerica is in the city promoting skateboarding, building spots, providing DIY education, working with locals to repair and improve existing skateparks, and generally doing what they could to empower the kids who skate in the city. Requesting that a permit be denied because of the money they spent was bad business and bad for skateboarding. It was good for Nike, I guess, but not for anyone else.
And I suppose that sums up why I don't like the brand Nike SB so much. They do what is good for them, and if it's good for skateboarding, cool, but if not, that's cool, too.
PLEASE NOTE: I very clearly understand the difference between skaters who ride for Nike and the policies of the company. I have a very good friend who rides for Nike, and I have a lot of long-time buddies and acquaintances who do as well. I don't have a problem with people who get paid from Nike or who wear the shoes.
I do wish that skateboarding was unified enough eight or ten years ago to have been able to keep the outsiders out and to have avoided being bought by the sporting goods companies. But wishing that is fruitless. It didn't happen.
I also kinda wish the younger generation of skateboarders could experience the feeling of being a true outsider that yielded skateboarding companies who remain in skateboarding through thick and thin, not because it's business, but because of the void that would emerge in their hearts and stomachs if they weren't involved in skateboarding.
I think it's important for skateboarders to know that Nike has done this. It wasn't Nike Mexico or some group of people who might claim they don't represent the global group -- it was Nike SB, Beaverton, Oregon, USA. Asking that a permit for a skateboarding brand not be issued.
When you buy Nike products you are supporting a brand that not only doesn't support other brand's skateboarding events, but actively blocks them. Is that how you, as a skateboarder, want to spend your money?
- Mark Waters