Being a Denver Broncos fan in Washington will be difficult for the next couple weeks as the team prepares to face the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII. One teenage fan learned that the hard way during conference championship weekend.
A report from 9News in Colorado passes along the story of Nathaniel Wentz, who was fired from his job after wearing a Demaryius Thomas jersey to work at Odyssey 1, a family entertainment center in Tacoma, Wash.
Wentz says his manager told employees to wear jerseys on Jan. 19, with Seahawks fever running rampant in the Northwest. But when Wentz arrived in Broncos garb, his manager abruptly told him to go home and change into something else.
The 17-year-old Denver fan never returned to work after being sent home and says that's the official reason he was fired. "It was all about you can't. You can't represent your team. There's something wrong with that," said Wentz, courtesy of 9News.
Wentz, who plays quarterback in high school, considers himself a diehard fan who's followed the team for a vast majority of his life. The report mentions that his father, also a Broncos fan, tried to talk with the owner but never heard back.
An attorney in Seattle who contributed to the story said employers in the state can fire an employee for basically any reason:
"It's a petty move on the part of the employer," said staunch Seahawks fan Patrick Leo McGuigan of HKM Employment Attorneys in Seattle. But even he says employers do have the right to restrict what you wear. "An employer has a common law right to terminate for no cause, good cause or a cause that's morally wrong, as the courts like to point out."
These types of stories emerge from time to time, usually surrounding the Super Bowl or a rivalry game. Dashiell Bennett of Business Insider reported in 2011 about a Green Bay Packers fan getting fired after wearing a team tie to work in Chicago.
This season's Super Bowl is already starting to generate a lot of hype. The matchup between the top seeds from each conference is piquing interest even among casual fans.
Between Richard Sherman's memorable postgame interview after the NFC title game and the intrigue surrounding the Broncos' No. 1 offense going up against Seattle's No. 1 defense, it has all the makings of a classic.
Wentz is looking on the bright side following his termination. He told 9News the firing will at least allow him to watch the Super Bowl on Feb. 2.
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