For more than a decade, if you went to a home Clippers’ game in Los Angeles, you would see a man dressed in a crazy red and blue suit cheering on his team. That is Darrell Bailey, but you may know him by his affectionate nickname, “Clipper Darrell.”
Bailey has had season tickets to the Clippers for 11 years. That is a long time of suffering through horrible teams, but now that the Clippers are much, much, much better, “Clipper Darrell” gets a little bit bigger spotlight.
While we cannot know for sure if it is because of the extra attention, or something that has been building over time, the Clippers organization has asked Bailey not to use their name anymore.
“I’m not feeling too good right now,” Bailey said. “They asked me not to be Clipper Darrell anymore. They don’t want me to dance. They don’t want me to cheer anymore at the games. I can’t be Clipper Darrell. They don’t want me in the suit. They don’t want me to do anything anymore.”
The Clippers players quickly rushed to Bailey’s defense, broadcasting their support over Twitter. Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan all said they had Bailey’s back.
At first, I was on their side as well. This guy has supported your awful team for years, and now that they are doing well, you want him to sit down and shut up? What is the harm in letting him associate with your team if all he is bringing is positive publicity and support?
Then I did a little research. Apparently, Bailey has been making some money off his Clipper persona for a while now. He makes public appearances and tries to land endorsement deals without any backing from the team.
I am actually on the side of the Clippers here, I know it is probably not the popular opinion, but this whole thing could turn into a nightmare if it is not handled the right way.
Darrell Bailey is out there acting like he is associated with the team but the team has no control over him. Hypothetically, if he were to make an appearance at a pro-choice rally, or an NRA meeting, than those organizations can become associated with the team. If someone is out there flaunting your brand and you have no control over it, then that is just asking for trouble.
The Clippers are only doing what they think is best, and I think they are right.
To some, this seems like another blunder by an organization with a history of bad decisions, and there may be better ways to go about this than just shutting down “Clipper Darrell.” But the Clippers have to cover their butts, and in the long run, it is probably the smart move.