Sportress of Blogitude

Teen fired from job after wearing a Denver Broncos jersey in Seattle Seahawks country (video)

NFL fans as a whole generally can be frighteningly provincial when it comes to demanding allegiance to the local team. Outsiders who profess a love to a team that lies outside the imaginary geographic boundaries that surround a National Football League’s home territory routinely are harassed, hopefully more often than not in a harmless manner … a slight ribbing, some free-spirited smack talk, that kind of thing.

But when a teenager is fired from his job because he happened to wear a jersey of a rival team to work? That’s when good-natured expressions — nay, demands – of “Gotta Support the (Local) Team” cross the line.

It sadly has become commonplace for stories to emerge surrounding how a kid is sent home from school or wherever for wearing an opposing team’s jersey. And now, a youngster in Seahawks Country understands it all too well.

Nathaniel Wentz, a 17-year-old resident of Tacoma, Wash. and quarterback of his high school football team, professes to be a big-time football fan.

“I’m a die hard,” he told KING-5, about his love of the game.

Same goes for his old man, Randall. The two have been watching football since Nathaniel was three years old.

“We’re very passionate about it,” said Randall.

So, it was a total shock when the younger Wentz was fired from his job when he didn’t return work on Sunday after being told to go home and change out of his No. 88 Demaryius Thomas jersey.

Wentz works at Odyssey 1 family entertainment center in Tacoma, and if working at a family entertainment center were not excruciating enough, he was rebuffed for his choice of jersey on Sunday, even though employees were encouraged by the manager to wear jerseys to their shifts that day.

But the manager apparently meant only Seahawks jerseys and Wentz was sent home. Once he learned of what happened at his son’s place of employment, Nathaniel’s dad left a message for the center’s owner that was not returned, so Nathaniel remained at home and was summarily fired for not returning to work his shift.

Patrick Leo McGuigan, an employment law attorney of HKM Employment Attorneys — not to mention a Seahawks fan, was not impressed when told of the actions by management during the incident.

“It’s a petty move on the part of the employer,” he said while noting employers have a right to restrict what employees wear and enforce a dress code the business deems appropriate.  “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.”

Fair enough, but even die-hard Seahawks fans were perturbed when hearing about Wentz’s plight.

“I think it’s crazy,” said Seahwks fan Bernie Crump, as he waited in line outside Century Link Field to pick up his Super Bowl tickets. “We’re civilized here. It’s not like we live in Philadelphia!”

BAM! Even when Philadelphia fans aren’t remotely involved, they can still get slammed. Ouch.

Wentz’s former employer refused comment on Tuesday, and the 17-year-old remains fired. But as KING-5 notes, at least he won’t have any work conflicts on Super Bowl Sunday, so he’ll be able to watch his beloved Broncos take on the Seahawks.

And even better, he doesn’t have to work at a family entertainment center any longer. Working at a place like that sounds like a nightmare, man.

[KING-5]