SBD/March 1, 2012/Franchises

Clippers Ask Fan "Clipper Darrell" To Drop Nickname, Citing Trademark Issues

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Bailey, an 11-year season-ticket holder, makes his presence known at home games
Darrell Bailey, an 11-year Clippers season-ticket holder who goes by the nickname "Clipper Darrell," yesterday on his website announced that the team “has asked him to refrain from using the name,” according to Arash Markazi of ESPN L.A. The Clippers issued “a harshly-worded statement in response to Bailey's claims on Wednesday.” The statement read in part, “The Clippers have done absolutely nothing wrong or inappropriate as it concerns Darrell Bailey. His claims are absurd and unfounded. … We have had multiple conversations with him concerning his inappropriate use of the Clippers' team name and trademark for his own unmonitored commercial gain.” The statement continued, “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.” Markazi noted this “isn't the first time Bailey and the team have butted heads.” Bailey has often “complained about the team holding him back and preventing him from securing endorsement deals while the team has been upset that he has sold merchandise and booked public appearances on his website using the Clippers name for years.” Bailey's profile has “increased recently with the success” of the team (ESPNLA.com, 2/29). MEDIABISTRO.com’s Marcus Vanderberg noted last week Clippers Senior VP/Marketing & Sales Carl Lahr informed Bailey that the organization "didn’t need him doing stories or speaking to the media on behalf of the team." Bailey said that the team “offered him an additional free season ticket if he dropped the Clipper nickname.” Bailey said, “That’s when everything went haywire and they said I was trying to make money off sponsorships. 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.” Vanderberg noted at Tuesday night’s game against the T’Wolves, “instead of wearing his customary red and blue suit, Bailey wore all black” (MEDIABISTRO.com, 2/29).

SUPPORT SYSTEM: CBSSPORTS.com’s Royce Young wrote Bailey is “the most visible, most loyal, most supportive” Clippers fan there is. He has been “a fixture at home games for the last 15 seasons.” Bailey on his blog wrote, “I have been told by Clipper management they no longer want me to be Clipper Darrell. … I have been a season ticket holder for over a decade and a FAN for over 15 years.” Young wrote the Clippers “have never had a problem with this over the last 15 years, but now that they're good and relevant, they do?” Bailey was “selling Clipper Darrell merchandise such as wristbands and shirts,” and the Clippers “weren't willing to just let Darrell keep on with it” (CBSSPORTS.com, 2/29).
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