Salesman fired for wearing Packers tie

Updated: January 26, 2011, 12:09 AM ET
ESPNChicago.com

OAK LAWN, Ill. -- A car salesman in suburban Chicago has been fired for refusing to remove a Green Bay Packers tie that he wore to work the day after the Packers beat the Chicago Bears to advance to the Super Bowl.

John Stone, 34, says he wore the Packers tie to work Monday at Webb Chevrolet in Oak Lawn to honor his late grandmother, who was a big Green Bay fan.

The sentimental gesture did not impress his boss, Jerry Roberts, who fired him.

"I'm still wondering and baffled why he fired me over a tie," Stone told "SportsCenter."

Roberts said that Stone was offered five chances to take off the tie but he refused.

"If he loves the tie more than his job, he's welcome to keep wearing it -- elsewhere," Roberts said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Stone said that he was asked three times to take the tie off, once in a joking manner and another time when he was with a customer and was allowed to keep working. Finally, Roberts came out of a meeting, Stone said, and confronted him.

"Take your tie off or you're f-ing fired," Stone told ESPN.

Stone is a father of two who had worked at the dealership for a month and a half, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. He said that he has been a Packers fan since he saw running back Ahman Green play.

"I liked the way he played, and I liked Brett Favre before he left, and I love Aaron Rodgers, the coaching staff -- the whole organization," he said, according to the newspaper.

Roberts told the newspaper that Stone was a good salesman who sold 14 cars last month and that no customers had complained about the tie. Stone agreed.

"I was just showing my love for my team and it was a nice, smart tie that matched my clothes -- none of the customers minded: They had a sense of humor about it," he said.

Roberts says the dealership has done promotions involving the Bears and he was afraid the tie could alienate the team's fans and make it harder to sell cars.

"We spend $20,000 a month on advertising with the Bears on WBBM during the season, and we have Bears players including Corey Wootton driving loaner vehicles, and here was a salesman openly undoing that work," Roberts said, according to the Sun-Times.

Stone told ESPN that he didn't know the dealership had a deal with the Bears. He said if Roberts had approached him professionally and explained the situation, he would have taken off the tie.

Instead, "he hollered at me and he cussed me out," Stone said.

Roberts said that Stone's timing was bad.

"If he'd worn the tie on Saturday I wouldn't have minded," he said, according to the Sun-Times. And if the Bears had won, Roberts said, "I suspect he wouldn't have worn the tie."

It looks as though Stone, like his beloved Packers, will live to fight another day. While "The Dan Patrick Show" reported that he landed a new job at a Chevy dealership Tuesday morning, Stone told ESPN that he doesn't yet have the job but does have an interview lined up.

And, according to the Tribune, Roberts said later Tuesday he would hire Stone back if he returns to work. Stone said that would not happen.

"I'm not going," said Stone, according to the Tribune.

And in spite of it all, he hasn't changed allegiance.

"I'm a Packers fan all the way," he told ESPN.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.