Clipper Darrell, aka Darrell Bailey, was having a profile done on him by a sports site, but when the website was denied media credentials, Bailey called the team to find out why. Carl Lahr, the team’s senior vice president of marketing and sales returned his call.
“We got to talking and I said the way I feel, you don’t want Clipper Darrell no more,” Darrell said in an interview with FishbowlLA. “You want Darrell Bailey back. They said, ‘You would do that?’
“That’s when everything went haywire and they said I was trying to make money off sponsorships. 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.’”
Seen in his custom-made red-and-blue suit, Darrell has been a fixture at Clippers home games for some time, performing kooky dance moves during breaks in action and also leading chants. On his blog, Darrell says he’s been fan of the Clippers for 15 years and estimates he’s been to over 400 games. That’s a lot of losing, and yet Darrell stood by his team.
Close followers of the team might remember the parade he led in an effort to recruit LeBron James to join the Clips in 2010 or when he threatened to sleep outside Staples Center last year in protest of the lockout.
Rather than his trademark suit, Darrell wore black to the the Clips’ 109-97 loss Tuesday night to the Timberwolves at Staples Center. On Twitter, several Clippers players including Paul, Griffin and DeAndre Jordan have expressed their support of him.
On Wednesday the Clippers released a statement defending their decision:
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. [...]
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.
We feel Darrell deserves better. He was one of the team’s few ardent supporters even when they were, um, the Clippers. Even after Mark Cuban recruited to him to move to Dallas for a full-time job to become “Maverick Darrell,” Darrell stood by the Clips. With that type of loyalty, he deserves a whole lot of credit.
The sense of entitlement the Clippers suddenly have regarding Darrell using their name has everything to do with the team’s rise to relevancy this season. They’re big-timers now, so God forbid them being affiliated with somebody they probably see as a bum. Way to sell out, Clippers.
We expect nothing less from a Donald Sterling organization.Google+