Clippers tell super fan ‘Clipper Darrell’ to stop using the name

I have been a Clipper fan since the 80’s. People often ask me how I can have love for both teams and it’s something I can’t really explain and just chalk it up to an L.A. thing. I remember going to the first Clippers home game in the New Staples Center in November of 99 (it was against the 76’ers who at that point had my favorite NBA player, Allen Iverson, but that’s a story for another day)

One of the things that stood out for me (besides how bright the arena seemed compared to the Sports arena, the Clippers former home or the Forum where the Lakers played) was a LOUD Clippers fan who I never was able to locate in the crowd but could clearly hear throughout the game. Later, I finally spotted Clipper Darrell in a half and half jersey (home and away, it was either Lamar Odom’s or Darius Miles) Anyway, that was my first glance of the Clippers super fan.

It’s a sad day in Clipper Nation to learn that the Clippers have asked him to stop referring to himself as “Clipper Darrell.” This is the guy that has been to over 400 home games, turned down a PAID gig with the Dallas Mavericks years ago to show his loyalty to the Clippers and even put together a fan support rally to encourage LeBron James to come to the Clip show during “The Decision” summer. The former Clipper Darrell- now to be referred to by his government name, Darrell Bailey, released a statement:

It is with great sadness that I must report to all those in NBA NATION that I have been told by Clipper management they no longer want me to be Clipper Darrell, a name that was given to me by the media because of my unwavering support and team spirit. I am devastated!!!!

This came about because of a conversation Darrell had with a Clippers Exec concerning the fact that the Clippers believed Darrell was using their name for financial gain

“We got to talking and I said the way I feel, you don’t want Clipper Darrell no more,” Bailey told FishbowlLA Wednesday. “You want Darrell Bailey back. They said, ‘You would do that?’”

According to Bailey, the Clippers offered him an additional free season ticket if he dropped the Clipper nickname.

“That’s when everything went haywire and they said I was trying to make money off sponsorships,” Bailey added. “If people are going to pay me to do some things, why not do it? I don’t see any harm in it as long as I’m not hurting the brand itself. I’m going to high schools, charity events, I do it all. They told me at the end of the conversation that, ‘We would like you not to be Clipper Darrell anymore and would like you to go back to Darrell Bailey.’”

Of course the Clippers have issued a statement that somehow actually makes them look worst in this situation. But of course, if you know the Clips history, it’s easy to see how that could be accomplished. Two All-Stars on the squad still isn’t a cure all from the “Sterling culture”

“The Clippers have done absolutely nothing wrong or inappropriate as it concerns Darrell Bailey. His claims are absurd and unfounded. He has never been an employee or representative of the Clippers organization, and therefore cannot be terminated. The Clippers have never engaged Mr. Bailey’s services. When he has been in need, the organization has regularly provided him a seat for games. No good deed goes unpunished.

We have had multiple conversations with him concerning his inappropriate use of the Clippers’ team name and trademark for his own unmonitored commercial gain. We have spoken to him repeatedly about his desire to make public appearances in ways which improperly suggest that he is officially affiliated with our organization. In all cases and over a long period of time, he has consistently rejected our efforts to operate in consultation.

In a conversation with an authoritative and tenured Clippers’ executive last week, he was asked again to either consult with the team on all public appearances and/or commercial ventures, or stop undertaking those opportunities representing himself inappropriately. His response was an offer to stop representing himself commercially in that way and his offer was accepted in principle.

The next thing we heard was the baseless claims he has made today and the ensuing media rush to judgment.

We hold all of our fans in the highest esteem and we have been patient and generous with Mr. Bailey. He has not returned our support in an honorable way. He is not actually a fan of the Clippers, but a fan of what he can make off of the Clippers.  We are no longer interested in that kind of association with him, and that is why we accepted his offer to remove our team name from his stage name.”

Obviously, the players aren’t in agreement with management on this issue.

Damn, PR Nightmare. I know the Clippers are “Lob city” and whatnot but this still isn’t a good look.