Pictured above, wearing a rather unfashionable Green Bay Packers necktie, is John Stone, a car salesman at Webb Chevrolet in Oak Lawn. Rather, Stone is a former employee of Webb Chevrolet, after being unceremoniously fired for wearing that same tie to work on Monday, a day after the Packers beat the Bears in the NFC Championship.
Stone donned the Packers tie to honor his late grandmother, a huge Green Bay fan who died a mere two days before the championship game, and to show off his team pride following their win. The 34-year-old says he’s been a fan of the team since he first saw former RB Ahman Green suit up for the Pack.
Stone’s boss, general manager Jerry Roberts, didn’t think the tie was appropriate attire for a dealership that spends $20,000 a month on advertising with the Bears, adding that by wearing the tie, his former employee was “salting the wounds” of the Chicago defeat.
When asked if Stone was fired because of his Packers necktie, Roberts answered “correct.”
According to Stone, no customer had complained about the supposedly offensive apparel, a claim which Roberts backs up. Still, at 10:30 a.m. Roberts told Stone to remove the tie, a request that Stone initially thought was a joke…right up until he got canned for refusing to take it off.
“He said, ‘You have two options,’ ” a furious Stone said later Monday. “Remove the tie, or you’re fired.”
“When I didn’t, he said, ‘You can leave, you’re fired.’ Does that sound fair to you?”
Stone had been employed at the dealership for 1 1/2 months, and according to Roberts, the Packers fan was a damn good salesman, having sold 14 cars the previous month. Roberts also said that he gave Stone five chances to remove the tie, but refused every time.
“If he loves the tie more than his job, he’s welcome to keep wearing it — elsewhere,” Roberts said.
Here’s my take on the whole thing—was the general manager being a tad petty in firing a guy for wearing a tie of your team’s arch-rival? Yes.
Was he well within his rights to do it? Yes.
Should Stone have removed the tie after being threatened with termination? Absolutely.
Most jobs have a probationary period, usually three months, sometimes more, sometimes less. It’s not unfathomable to think that Stone was still under this probationary period, so if your boss says take off your tie, you do it. What you don’t do is risk your livelihood, especially when you’ve got two kids at home, over a stupid tie. We get it Stone—you love your team. Now lose the tie and sell some friggin’ cars.
That being said, the general manager of the dealership was, as I said, being a bit dickish in firing the guy for this. The proper thing for both parties would be for Stone to apologize for wearing the Packers tie, promise not to wear it during football season, and for Roberts to give the man his job back. That would be the logical and adult thing to do, don’t you think?
Then again, these are Bears and Packers fans we’re talking about here—logic and reason isn’t in their vocabulary.
UPDATE: Stone has been offered another job, a day after losing his sales job at Webb Chevrolet for wearing a Packers necktie. Guy Cesario, general manager of Chevrolet of Homewood, offered the 34-year-old Stone a job at his dealership while watching Stone being interviewed on WGN. All is right in the world.