Monday, March 19, 2012
'Clipper Darrell' back in action
By Arash Markazi
LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Clippers' six-game homestand last week ended with a 3-3 record, and further highlighted the inconsistency of a team that is now 11-11 since losing Chauncey Billups for the season last month.
Perhaps the only thing consistent for the Clippers at Staples Center has been the presence of longtime season-ticket holder Darrell Bailey, who returned to his familiar role as "Clipper Darrell" and attended every game of the homestand in his custom-made, half-red and half-blue suit.
Bailey never actually missed any home games, but during the Clippers' six-game road trip at the beginning of March he created a media firestorm when he said the Clippers asked him to refrain from using the "Clipper Darrell" name.
The two sides came to an agreement before the Clippers returned home after their road trip and Bailey was back in his usual seat in Section 107 on March 11 when the Clippers played the Golden State Warriors.
The agreement was more of a clarification than anything else. The Clippers wanted to be notified of appearances Bailey was making under the "Clipper Darrell" name and also wanted Bailey to be careful of possible endorsement deals he was considering accepting as "Clipper Darrell."
"We have a mutual understanding of what my role is now," Bailey said. "Nothing has changed. I'm still doing what I've been doing, but I'm letting the Clippers know when I make certain appearances. All these appearances though are through season-ticket holders that asked me to come to their kids' games. People wanted to make it seem like I was making appearances in front of Ralph's [grocery stores] or something. It's not like that."
Bailey admits he was "hurt" by the statement the Clippers made regarding his situation which said, in part: "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."
Cooler heads prevailed shortly after the statement was released and the team still provides Bailey a complimentary ticket to every game as it has done for the past two years. Bailey had been a paying season-ticket holder from 2000 to 2010.
"I'm always going to love this team," Bailey said. "This team has brought me through a lot of pain and suffering. I didn't realize how much love I had from the fans. The Clipper Darrell chants have been wonderful for me. It's been a beautiful situation. I can't complain one bit."