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'Clipper Darrell' is Now Just 'Darrell'
The Clippers have asked their biggest fan "Clipper Darrell" to just go back to being regular old Darrell Bailey.The superfan, who has held season tickets for the last decade, became a fixture at often poorly-attended Clippers games in his signature blue-and-red suit. But last week Carl Lahr, the Clippers' senior vice president of marketing and sales, called up Bailey and asked him to stop going by the name "Clipper Darrell,"according to Fishbowl LA. Bailey had tried to get in touch with the management after learning that Bleacher Report was denied media credentials for doing a profile on him.
The Clippers said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times that they didn't ask him to stop using the name out of the blue: "We have had multiple conversations with him concerning his inappropriate use of the Clippers’ team name and trademark for his own unmonitored commercial gain."
How is Bailey holding up? Not so well, according to his latest blog post titled "I AM DEVASTATED!!!":
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. I felt vindicated for all the years we as Clipper fans have gone through trials and tribulations and NOW we have a team that can win it all. 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!
Fishbowl LA reports that Bailey showed up wearing all black to Tuesday’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Some Clippers fans are also pretty devastated and they're venting their frustration through Twitter, and others have put together a Facebook group demanding the Clippers "Bring back Clipper Darell."But not all of the denizens of Lob City are completely torn up. Hip to Clipp blogger Vince Robbins points out that "Clipper Darrell" was more than a super-fan. He was also a businessman:
There was a period a few years back when Darrell went from quirky, staunchly devoted super-fan to spammy, branded character-for-hire. His website, his Facebook, his Twitter, his events...they all just got to be too much. Some of us de-friended him on Facebook, or at least threatened to under our breath on often occasion (gotta love the passive aggressive de-friend move - very 9th grade girl). It wasn't fun anymore when you were getting constant status updates, messages, and event invites to all of these things that seemed unnaturally, and overbearingly, sales-ish. It became clear that he was firing on all profiteering cylinders and monetizing the Clipper Darrell image at every turn.
But Robbins points out that treating this simply as a copyright issue feels like a slap in the face to diehard fans: "The Clippers management needs to understand that sports franchises are not merely an athletic-money-making-spectacle. They are an emotional attachment. A childhood of memories. Hundreds of hours of commitment. The foundation of friendships. A source of identity. And nobody else has a stronger Clipper identity than Darrell Bailey."
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