Marc Johnson has moved on from his long-term shoe sponsor Lakai to ride for adidas. The announcement, made during the Los Angeles premiere of adidas Skateboarding’s debut full-length video Away Days, seems a conflicting move after his statement (below) in a 2013 Jenkem interview.
If a big sports shoe brand paid you two or three times your current salary, would you consider leaving Lakai to ride for them?
"No, I wouldn’t ride for a mainstream sports footwear brand. I would not skate for Big Company Footwear.”
Marc’s departure has not gone down well with Lakai co-owner Mike Carroll, who explains how it all happened in an in-depth interview on the Jenkem site:
There’s been rumors for a while that Marc Johnson was going to leave Lakai... then he really did leave to adidas. What happened?
“The rumors have been around for years. They have been hitting Marc up for years. He was courteous enough years ago to let us know they offered him something, and we were able to match it at that time. It was all good. I don’t think it was something he wanted to do at the time, he wanted to stay on Lakai.
Financially, as everyone knows, in recent years, it has been rough. We had to do some things financially and rearrange and lower some people’s pay, him being included. But he was understanding and we talked about it.
Then recently, we had to make more financial decisions and he was going to be affected again. For years he was greatly paid and we did our best to not touch him at all. Even throughout the financial struggles, we didn’t make any pay cuts to him while other ones were going down. He was highly protected when it came to that stuff, but it came to a point where there was nowhere else to cut.
We had to reduce pay and I just told him, you know what, this sucks. You’ve been in this for fucking years, putting your all into it, blood, sweat and tears and I wouldn’t feel comfortable asking you to stick around. We talked for a while, and I knew he was going to go skate for them.
Everybody started talking about the rumors again, but it was a mutual thing and fully respectful. It was a sad moment. It sucked for me to have to tell him that, and to have to say, “You should probably take a better offer,” because these motherfuckers are coming at you all crazy. He’s almost 40 years old, I think at this age you should go get yours. And if he was gonna stay on, I didn’t want him to be resentful for the decision.
I sent him a termination agreement over a month ago and in that agreement we asked him to hold off a while from announcing because we had our product and the agreement was to protect us and the production. But I told him I was open to talk about the agreement and change anything. We asked him to keep it on the low for a while. But I knew it was asking for a lot. But… that’s what he’s getting paid for… Then I heard more rumors and I hit him up for a couple of days and he wasn’t responding so I had to be blunt. I was like, “Hey, I’ve been hearing these rumors that you are about to be announced at the Away Days premiere. What’s the deal with this?” I thought he was going to be on the team through at least the summer or July.
Then he finally got back to me, but was just like, “No, there’s no announcement… who would say that?” So I asked him again, “There’s no announcement tomorrow?” He’s like, “No.” Then the next day, the night of the premiere I just get a text, “Marc was just announced in the video.” I was just like… that is insane. Last night on the phone he said nothing was happening.
He could have called me, he could have talked to me, and said that’s a little too long to wait and keep quiet, because of certain agreements pending, or whatever. We’re friends, lets talk about it. Or if it’s not a friend thing, let’s get the lawyers to talk about it.”
Read the full interview with Mike, which also covers what’s going on with Crailtap, right here.