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Clippers ask long-time fan Clipper Darrell to stop using that name

Mar 1, 2012, 11:04 AM EDT

clipper darrell

This is about brand image and money getting in the way of passion. It’s about misguided loyalty. It’s about the Clippers still being the Clippers.

You know Darrell Baily as Clipper Darrell — the most passionate, long-time fan the Clippers have ever had. The guy with the blue-and-red suit (and car to match). He was the face of the Clippers fans and was there when this team sucked for years. He had better presence and higher positive feelings among fans than the team.

Truth be told, Clipper management never really loved him — they saw him as loudmouth, an embarrassment, a guy out for himself. But they never really did much about it.

Until the last few weeks. Here is the most unbiased account of what happened, via Fishbowl L.A.

Carl Lahr, senior vice president of marketing and sales, eventually returned Bailey’s call last week and informed him that the organization didn’t need him doing stories or speaking to the media on behalf of the team.

“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.

I spoke briefly with Baily Wednesday night but he did not want to go on the record about this right now. Suffice to say the issue is not over.

Here is what Baily said on his Web Site.

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!!!!

I have been a season ticket holder for over a decade and a FAN for over 15 years and have dedicated a major part of my life to support the Clipper organization and it’s players no matter what the season’s outcome.…. I’ve taken seriously the mantra of being “Clipper Darrell” in performing community service, mentoring young children and my participation in outreach programs. I’ve appreciated the struggles of the team to overcome obstacles as I’ve done in my life.

That last part is where the Clippers say they have an issue. While privately they have told Baily he was an embarrassment, publically they feel he is trying to make money off the now-valuable Clipper name. Here is what they said in a released statement (read the whole thing at the Orange County Register).

“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 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.”

That didn’t sound petty at all.

Blake Griffin and Chris Paul had tweets up in support of Baily, but they were taken down by Thursday morning.

My two cents — while the Clippers are a very good team on the court, they still show you that they are the old Clippers off it at times.

They didn’t push hard for Baily to stop being the face of the fans until they had a lot of fans and didn’t need him. If you think this is about money for Baily you don’t know him — he has spent far, far more on tickets, on getting clothes made and his car painted, on gas and everything else than he will ever come close to making back on a few T-shirts. The Clippers could have found a way to partner with him, to actually bring him in, but that’s not what they wanted.

Baily was far, far less an embarrassment to the Clipper franchise than the owner has been over the last decade.

Clipper Darrell — which is what he’ll always be to me — started doing this out of passion. A love of the team and passion he provided when they didn’t deserve it from fans, and he stuck with them. If now he can make a few bucks off the persona he created, so what? To block him is petty and small. But it’s vintage old Clippers.

  1. cakemixa - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:13 AM

    Why didn’t they care when the Clippers were irrelevant? This is very similar to the NFL cracking down on people using the “who dat” phrase after the New Orleans Saints won the Super Bowl.

    • mox19380 - Mar 1, 2012 at 2:19 PM

      I thought the same thing. When the team was irrelevant and the perennial loser they wouldn’t say anything about the rah rah guy … Maybe Sterling and crew need to remember that even a blind dogs finds a bone once in a while and in 5-10 years they’ll probably be cellar dwellers again

  2. paulyshore1 - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:20 AM

    Wow. Clippers management will never change

    • southbeachtalent - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:41 PM

      Horrible PR move. That ought to get Clipper Nation fired up!!

      • limonadamas - Mar 2, 2012 at 11:46 AM

        I don’t understand how “Clipper Nation” continues to support a team that is run by such a despicable owner. Seriously, every cent you spend on that horrid franchise eventually finds its way into Sterling’s pockets. There are consequences to every action, even seemingly inconsequential ones like supporting a sports team.

        That’s why I’ll never support the Clippers until Sterling sells the team (or dies), regardless how “exciting” they are.. and no matter how much people try to hype them up.

  3. rdssc - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    Easy solution, just ask Metta World Piece. Change your legal name to Clipper Darrell Baily.

  4. lameasish - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:23 AM

    This is a weak move by clippers.

  5. AlohaMrHand - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:27 AM

    Granted he’s not on the payroll and I do see the Clippers side to this.However it’s not like he’s ever come out and said he was a member of the Clipper organization he’s just a fan.Where was the outrage when they sucked?

  6. manwithpizza - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:31 AM

    Do the clips have any PR people working for them. I understand the desire to protect your copyrighted name, but this is such a boneheaded move.

  7. bigdave8124 - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:39 AM

    I’m a huge Laker fan, but my father in law had season tickets to the Clippers for a couple years from 2005-2008…He would ask me to go to games with him all the time and I really had no reason to go unless they were playing the Lakers. However I would go sometimes just to see Clipper Darrell…It’s sad that the Clipper organization mistakes his passion for that…But this is the Clippers were talking about…Come on over to the Varsity team Darrell!!

  8. acdc363 - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:55 AM

    Well it’s certainly a good day not to be a clipper fan.

  9. logneezy - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:03 PM

    when are these rich jerks going to realize that fans make sports what they are.. buying their merchandise, buying tickets, expensive concessions food. with out loyal fans like this guy, all these sports would suffer!

  10. glink123 - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:08 PM

    Wow. Looks like LeBron James will have to stop calling himself King James, too. You know, since the Sacramento Kings own the rights to the name King, just like the LA Clippers own the rights to the name Clipper.

    • southbeachtalent - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:45 PM

      Way to segway LeBron into this. I knew it was going to happen just didn’t know how..

  11. glink123 - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:10 PM

    Can Donald Sterling please just die already? What a waste of human space.

  12. slopmcflop - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    Doesn’t make any sense. Darrell himself says it, “a name given to me by the media.” It wasn’t like he was going around saying he was THE Clipper Darrell. If the Clippers have a problem, they should take it up with the media who dubbed that moniker and are the ones requesting interviews. Classic situation of the girl who suddenly got hot ditching the one friend who has always been there for her, only to find that her new friends are a bunch of superficial bishes that’ll turn their backs on her as soon as the tide changes, leaving the girl forced to crawl back to the one friend she’s always had. I think the amazing thing here is that CLIPPER DARRELL has been a fan of such a lame organization for so long, when they constantly pull ish like this.

  13. xliontamer - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    here is another quote from the Clippers response that is quite telling:

    “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.

    Believe it or not, it is possible that the Clippers are not acting outrageously, he may have done something or some number of things that were hurting or misrepresenting the club. I’m not taking sides, I’m just saying their are two.

    • jeffw - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:58 PM

      You are correct, but that’s the danger you run when you are perennially a half-ass pathetic organization. You don’t get the the benefit of the doubt…

    • dadawg77 - Mar 1, 2012 at 2:12 PM

      And Sterling has a story for being racist when it comes to renting apartments to African Americans. Some people just don’t get the benefit of the doubt and Sterling is one.

  14. teehov843 - Mar 1, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    He should use the nickname…(The Artist formerly known as Clipper Darrell). I think that would work. LOL!! On the real though, the Clippers management should be ashamed of themselves!

  15. brianbosworthisstonecold - Mar 1, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    Can a real life stripper call herself, “Clipper Danielle”, and not get harrassed?

  16. atom665 - Mar 1, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    They do realize they’re the Clippers. You haven’t won anything. Earned anything. Bad play.

  17. dirtydavis - Mar 1, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    I had a chance to meet the snotty ass*ole in Donald Sterling. I was in a deposition for one of those sexual harassment cases. To this day I’ve never met a bigger prick than Donald Sterling…

  18. NFL In L.A. - Mar 1, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    Somewhere Beniot Benjamin is smiling.

  19. mcjon22 - Mar 1, 2012 at 8:00 PM

    If I were the Lakers PR guy, I would officially make him ‘Laker Darrell’, pay him a very generous amount of money, give him a purple and gold suit, and sit him next to Jack Nicholson for the next 5 home games. It would be a HUGE embarrassment to the Clippers, well besides Vinny Del Negro and Sterlin.

  20. losangelasbasketball - Mar 2, 2012 at 5:28 AM

    First kurt article i agree with…. Clipper organization is still run by ged holders…. Bunch of incompetent monkies….

  21. stayhigh_247 - Mar 3, 2012 at 10:26 PM

    the clippers front office sucks! this is how you reward a guy who has made an ass out of himself for years for your once horrible, still questionable team! he was the only thing you guys had going, and now you treat him like a clown in a bozo outfit, not cool! Hey Darrell if you must root for a bad team Jim Bus has a plan in place to bring the Lakers down lightening fast. on second thought, as a Laker fan i’d rather sit next to a poser with a latte than listen to you rant for 48. that still sucks though, but yet im not surprised at all.

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