A car salesman was fired for wearing a Green Bay Packers tie to work in suburban Chicago a day after the Packers ousted the Chicago Bears from the NFL playoffs, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Tuesday.
John Stone told the newspaper that he wore the tie with the Packers logos to work in Oak Lawn at Webb Chevrolet in tribute to his late grandmother, a Packers fan, but was told by his boss, Jerry Roberts, to remove the tie.
Roberts, fearing unhappiness from customers who were likely to be fans of the Bears and not their Super Bowl-bound arch-rivals, told the Sun-Times he offered Stone five chances to remove the tie but he refused and was fired.
"If he loves the tie more than his job, he's welcome to keep wearing it -- elsewhere," Roberts told the newspaper.
Stone, who said he has already been hired by another Chevrolet dealership, says the conversation was much shorter.
"He said, 'You have two options. Remove the tie or you are fired.' When I didn't, he said, 'You can leave, you're fired.' Does that sound fair to you?" Stone said.
Roberts said Stone sold 14 cars last month and that no customers had complained about the tie, but Roberts told television station WLS that he did not want to wait until there were complaints before taking action.
"I was just showing my love for my team," Stone said. "None of the customers minded. They had a sense of humor about it."
Roberts said the dealership had staged promotions involving the Bears in the past and he did not want to risk alienating potential customers, especially one day after the Packers prevented the Bears from reaching the Super Bowl.
"We spend 20,000-dollars a month on advertising with the Bears on (radio) during the season... and here was a salesman openly undoing that work," Roberts told the newspaper.
"If he had worn the tie on Saturday I wouldn't have minded."