If you have been to a Los Angeles Clippers game in the past 10 years, you have likely heard chants of "Let's Go Clippers, Let's Go" and "U-G-L-Y…" echoing throughout Staples Center. The man behind those chants is Darrell Bailey, but is most well known as Clipper Darrell. However, the Los Angeles Clippers, upset with Bailey's use of their team name to generate profit have asked Bailey to no longer go by the name Clipper Darrell.
In a bizarre back and forth yesterday, Bailey, arguably the Clippers number one fan, and the Clippers organization made their claims on the internet. Bailey posted first about the situation, writing a blog post titled "I AM DEVASTATED!!!" In the post Bailey describes how the team has asked him to stop using their name:
"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!!!! [...]
Over the years (400 home games) I have gone to great lengths to show my appreciation and loyalty in my attire, the car I drive and in my very own home. I've taken seriously the mantra of being "Clipper Darrell" in performing community service, mentoring young children and my participation in outreach programs. [...]
Yesterday was the hardest day of my life, I felt powerless as a fan, as I was stripped of my identity however, no one can take away my heart and the love I have for my team!"
The words of Bailey immediately struck a chord, as fans, writers, and players alike came to the support of Bailey. Los Angeles Clippers stars Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan all went to Twitter to show back up Bailey. Chris Paul posted, "WE GOT YOU!!", Blake Griffin wrote "Bring back #ClipperDarrell", and DeAndre Jordan said "We Love You Clipper Darell…#ClipperDarell".
The Clippers organization, however, feel that Bailey's use of the team name at events and functions for his own commercial gain:
"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…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.”
The reaction to the situation has been extremely negative towards the Clippers' organization and puts another stain on the already sullied reputation of Owner Donald Sterling.
Darrell Bailey, who has gotten offers from Mark Cuban and pleas from Andrew Bogut to become Maverick or Bucks Darrell, will remain loyal to the Clippers, but for now it appears Clipper Darrell will no longer be a part of the atmosphere at Staples Center. Bailey was spotted at the Clippers home game vs. the Minnesota Timberwolves wearing all black and not his normal half blue, half red suit. It is unclear it Bailey will change his half blue and half red car that he drives around Los Angeles.
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