John Stone apparently loves his team more than his job.
Stone, a salesman at a Chevrolet dealership in the Chicago suburb of Oak Lawn, Ill., was fired Monday after he came to work wearing a Green Bay Packers tie.
His boss, Jerry Roberts, was worried the tie would tick off potential customers still smarting from the Bears’ 21-14 loss to the Packers on Sunday in the NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field.
Roberts repeatedly requested that Stone take off the tie. After Stone steadfastly refused, the dealership canned him.
“I was just showing my love for my team, and it was a nice smart tie that matched my clothes,” Stone told the Chicago Sun-Times. “None of the customers minded. They had a sense of humor about it.”
Roberts said he was trying to be sensitive to the fact that the dealership does business with the Bears, advertising on the team’s radio broadcasts. He added that he gave Stone five chances to remove the tie before firing him.
It could have been worse. Stone could have gone to work wearing a Jay Cutler jersey.
But not to worry. Stone said he was offered a job Tuesday by another Chicagoland Chevy dealer, Packers tie and all.
n PAPER COUGAR — The hype has been building for tonight’s Mountain West Conference basketball showdown between No. 4 San Diego State and No. 9 Brigham Young.
The Daily Herald of Provo, Utah, has offered its readers a chance to “build” their own life-sized poster of Cougars star Jimmer Fredette.
Starting Sunday, the Herald published a section of the poster each day. When all four sections are taped together, it will measure 6 feet 2 inches, the same height as Fredette.
n HIRE LEARNING — Beware of boosters bearing gifts.
Connecticut athletic director Jeff Hathaway is finding that out the hard way. Robert Burton wants back the $3 million he recently donated to the school’s athletic department, because the Huskies hired Paul Pasqualoni to replace football coach Randy Edsall, who left for Maryland.
Burton is also ending his endowment of two scholarships, valued at $1 million, and not renewing his $50,000 luxury box at Rentchler Field, where the Huskies play their home games.
Burton claims he wasn’t kept in the loop during the coaching search, something Hathaway had promised.
In a six-page letter to Hathaway, Burton said, in part: “The primary reason Randy took another job is because he couldn’t work with you. You are not qualified to be a Division I AD, and I would have fired you a long time ago. You do not have the skills to manage and cultivate new donors.”
Note to Hathaway: Don’t list Burton as a reference during your next job search.
COMPILED BY STEVE CARP
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL