|Clipper Darrell posing with his Clippermobile.|
If there was one thing that I learned by being a Cleveland fan, it is that it is dog gone tough being a fan. Having to go through season after season of agony and defeat, while coaches and managers babble on incessantly about something called rebuilding.
But, there is a certain joy that comes out of banding together with other fans... a misery loves company situation. And when there are fans that have jumped to the level of SuperFan, that makes losing fun. Ok, not really fun, but not as gut wrenching. The Indians have John Adams, the Jets have Fireman Ed, and the Clippers have "Clipper Darrell"
They had Clipper Darrell.
For at least the past 15 years, Clipper Darrell, otherwise known as Darrell Bailey has been going to Clippers games and being that guy. The guy that goes all out, in a ridiculous half red half blue suit, leading cheers to nowhere. This is the guy that is known all through the city, at all of the games as the Clippers SuperFan. A SuperFan of a team that since 1993, and I'm baffeled as I type this, a team that has had one season where they won more games than they lost. Since 1993.
So I am befuddled when the Clippers finally have a team in contention with players like Chris Paul and dunkmaster Blake Griffin that they would tell him to tone it down. The Clippers wanted him to just go back to being good ol Darrell. The Clippers claimed that he was making a profit off of his name and association with the team.
He made this announcement:
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'm sure SuperFans make so much money having drunks scream at them from the balconies for a picture and visiting sick kids at the hospital.
In their defense, the Clippers organization issued a statement. For all of you Browns fans, you might see a similarity between the PR team of Peyton Hillis and the Clippers.
It is so ridiculous, I am going to post the whole thing.
“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.
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.
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.”
I think everyone that every commented on Dan Gilbert's comic sans work of art and called it crazy, needs to take a look at the Clippers' press release. I imagine it was written in glitterfied bold purple comic sans with a flashing unicorn in the corner.
Some of the Clippers took to Twitter and showed their support of Clipper Darrell. But I wonder is it too little too late?
As a fan, you show up rain or shine, saving your money for the new jersey and game tickets. Depending on the price of gas and your job situation, actually going to the stadium or the arena is a luxury. Some people may never be able to afford to take their family to a game.
So when a team says to a fan, someone that has been there when the team was losing...for years, that burns me up.
Where do the Clippers think their revenue is coming from?
But, I guess they said it right...as a fan, no good deed goes unpunished.