If you've seen a Los Angeles Clippers game, you've probably seen superfan Clipper Darrell. In a blog post on Wednesday, Clipper Darrell, whose real name is Darrell Bailey, wrote about being heartbroken after the Clippers asked him to drop the team's name from his moniker. The blog post was met with widespread outrage directed towards Donald Sterling and the Clippers, and probably rightfully so.
There's plenty more to this story, however, including a harshly-worded statement from the Clippers released shortly after word of Clipper Darrell's demise began to spread. That alone should tell you how quickly this has spiraled out of control.
In some ways, this has become a semantics argument. According to Bailey, he felt like the team didn't want him around anymore while meeting with a Clippers executive. It led to this:
"That's when everything went haywire and they said I was trying to make money off sponsorships," Bailey added. "If people are going to pay me to do some things, why not do it? I don't see any harm in it as long as I'm not hurting the brand itself. I'm going to high schools, charity events, I do it all. They told me at the end of the conversation that, ‘We would like you not to be Clipper Darrell anymore and would like you to go back to Darrell Bailey.'"
@clipperdarrell WE GOT YOU!!!— Chris Paul (@CP3) February 29, 2012
Bring back #ClipperDarrell— Blake Griffin (@blakegriffin) February 29, 2012
I love Clipper Darrell....#ClipperDarrell— DeAndre Jordan (@deandrejordan) February 29, 2012
So how did the Clippers respond? With a statement calling Bailey's claims absurd, of course! There was also this:
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.
If the Clippers wanted to part ways with Bailey, that's fine. There's a way to gracefully handle a situation such as the one the Clippers were presented with. Calling him a liar and attacking his fandom were nowhere near graceful, however.
But then again, should we be surprised that an organization headed up by the most vile owner in sports can't seem to figure out how to put out a fire?