A suburban Chicago car salesman's decision to wear a Green Bay Packers tie to work Monday ended up costing him his job, two newspapers reported.
John Stone told the Chicago Tribune that he decided to wear a Packers tie to his job at Webb Chevrolet in Oak Lawn, Ill., one day after the Bears lost in the NFC Championship Game to their NFC North rivals as a tribute to his recently deceased grandmother.
"I didn't know you could get fired for wearing a tie," said Stone, 34. "I'm supposed to dress up. I'm a car salesman."
Stone said that upon his arrival, dealership general manager Jerry Roberts called him into his office and ordered him to take off the tie or be fired. Stone told the Tribune that he believed Roberts was kidding and went back to work. An hour later, Roberts repeated his demand on the showroom floor. When Stone didn't remove the tie, he said he was fired on the spot without being given a chance to explain the emotional significance of the tie.
"I don't know why he did it, I really don't," Stone said. "That's hurtful. I thought I was a good salesman."
Stone told the Chicago Sun-Times: "I was just showing my love for my team and it was a nice, smart tie that matched my clothes â none of the customers minded; they had a sense of humor about it."
Roberts confirmed the firing to WGN-TV and the Sun-Times, adding that the dealership has a promotional tie-in with the Bears.
"We spend $20,000 a month on advertising with the Bears on WBBM during the season," Roberts told the Sun-Times. "We have Bears players, including Corey Wootten, driving loaner vehicles, and here was a salesman openly undoing that work.â
The deals with the Bears include Webb sponsoring the "Most Valuable Bear" award handed out after every game and a loaner vehicle for announcer Jeff Joniak, Roberts said.
Roberts told the Sun-Times that Stone was offered five chances to take off the tie but chose not to do so. "If he loves the tie more than his job, he's welcome to keep wearing it â elsewhere," Roberts said.
On Tuesday, Stone said on the "Dan Patrick Show" that if he had to do it all over, he wouldn't have worn tie.
Stone, a father of two, shouldn't be unemployed for long. On Tuesday, another Chicago-area Chevrolet dealership offered him a job.