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KIRO Radio's Jason Rantz doesn't think a Tacoma teen should have been fired over Broncos jersey dispute. (AP)

Tacoma teen shouldn't be fired for wearing Broncos jersey to work

Taken from Wednesday's edition of The Jason Rantz Show on KIRO Radio.

Being a Denver Broncos fan in Washington is going to be difficult for awhile. One teenager in Tacoma learned the hard way just how tough it can be.

KING 5 brings us the story of 17-year-old Nathaniel Wentz. Nathaniel's boss at Odyssey 1 entertainment center told his employees to wear team jerseys to show their spirit. Nathaniel, a lifelong Broncos fan, wore a Broncos jersey. His boss told him to go home and change and Nathaniel later found out he'd been fired. KING 5 says he was technically fired because he didn't return to work after being told to go home and change.

When I first heard this story, I was sort of on the fence because generally speaking I'm one that says the rules are the rules, you follow the rules and if you don't, you suffer the consequences. In this case, this kid Nathaniel he decided to not follow the rules and he paid the consequences for it. But then I was thinking, to borrow language from a lawyer featured in the story, just how "petty" this firing was.

We invited Odyssey 1 on the show to tell their side of the story but they've declined. They did release a statement on their Facebook page:

"To show support for the Seattle Seahawks on game day, our employees may choose to wear a Seahawks jersey in place of our standard uniform which is required. To prevent any possible conflicts, the option of wearing other team's jerseys is not allowed. The employee reported to work in an unauthorized uniform and was asked to change into a standard uniform. Soon after he left to change into an accepted uniform, we received a phone call stating that he was not returning to work, leaving his position unfilled and creating extra stress for the staff covering his job on a busy weekend day."

Apparently, it was so stressful and so busy that they chose to send him home over a jersey that happened to be the opposing team the Seahawks will end up having to face in the Super Bowl.

I remember when I was at my first full-time job after college. I worked as an agent's assistant in a literary agency for screenwriters and television writers in Beverly Hills. And as you can imagine, the folks in Hollywood tend to be extremely liberal, tend to have very far-left views. There were not many conservatives there, and if there were, there weren't that many people willing to admit that they were Republicans or conservatives.

I am someone who revels in the fact that I can proudly state who I am, what I believe, where I come from on a number of positions, and be the minority. I like that. There is something about that that makes it feel empowering to me. There is something about that that gives me some pride.

So as I'm in my little cubicle, I notice a lot of people putting up little posters and little pictures on their desk and on their cubicle walls and I decided at the time to print out a Republican poster, a poster that was political in nature. It was a John McCain poster, and I put it up on my wall.

A lot of people gave me crap for it. Not just the teasing that you would normally expect, but actual antagonizing, asking, "You're a Republican? You believe that? That's stupid."

There was one person who was actually an agent in the office who gave me props for having the guts to put that up there and I took pride in that.

And that's how I'm looking at this kid. Even though again, normally I'm saying hey, 'You follow the rules or you're out,' I think what he did is kind of gutsy. It kind of takes guts to do what he did and I think that it is so petty for an employer to tell a 17-year-old child that he is no longer welcome in his position because he chose not to wear a uniform for the Seahawks. It's just a football game.

I take incredible pride in Seattle. I took incredible pride when the Seahawks won and I'm confident they're going to win on Super Bowl Sunday. But this is so petty. This is the lesson that we're teaching kids that they have to conform to a popular opinion or they're out, that they can't be individuals. We shouldn't be shaming people for being a fan of another team, we're better than that.

Taken from Wednesday's edition of The Jason Rantz Show on KIRO Radio.

JS

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