John C. Stone might be the most famous Green Bay Packers fan in Chicago.
The 34-year-old Roseland resident was fired Monday from his job as a car salesman at an Oak Lawn Chevrolet dealership for wearing a Packers tie to work, but he’s already been offered a job at another dealership and been interviewed live on a nationwide sports radio show.
“I didn’t know all this publicity was going to come with this,” Stone said in an interview this morning. “But you know what? It lets me know who has my back.”
Guy Cesario, the general manager of Chevrolet of Homewood, offered Stone a job this morning while Stone was being interviewed on WGN-Ch. 9.
“I think it’s ridiculous, and I felt bad for the guy, because he doesn’t deserve not to have a job,” said Cesario, who said he sympathized with Stone because he grew up as a Cubs fan on the South Side. “Good salesmen are so hard to find…. To put somebody’s livelihood in jeopardy because of a tie is just idiotic.”
Cesario said he and Stone plan to meet today or tomorrow. He said his dealership has already received calls from Wisconsin residents who want to buy a car from Stone.
Stone also discussed his firing during a live interview this morning on “The Dan Patrick Show,” a nationally syndicated sports talk program.
Stone said he wore the tie at Webb Chevrolet on Monday – one day after the Packers beat the Chicago Bears in the NFC championship game at Soldier Field – because he’s been a Packers fan since Ahman Green became a star running back for the Packers in 2000. He also said he wore the tie in honor of his 91-year-old grandmother, a Packers fan who died this month.
Stone said that when he showed up at work, general manager Jerry Roberts called him over to his office and told him he would be fired if he didn’t take off his tie. Stone said he thought Roberts was joking and went back to work.
An hour later, Stone said, Roberts came to the showroom floor and again demanded he take off the tie. When he didn’t, he was fired, Stone said.
“I didn’t know you could get fired for wearing a tie,” Stone said. “I’m supposed to dress up. I’m a car salesman.”
Asked by a WGN-Ch. 9 reporter if he’d fired Stone for wearing a Packer’s tie, Webb Chevrolet general manager Jerry Roberts said, “Correct.”
Roberts said the dealership had previously done promotions involving the Chicago Bears. “I don’t feel that it was appropriate for him to go directly in contrast with an advertising campaign that we spent a lot of money on,” Roberts told WGN reporter Judie Garcia.
But Stone said Roberts’ reasons for firing him were never made clear to him, nor did he get a chance to explain the tie’s emotional significance. Roberts told WGN-Ch. 9 that he didn’t know that Stone’s grandmother was a Packers fan.
Stone, who has two children, said this morning he’s simply trying to catch his breath.
“I’m just going to leave my options open,” he said. “I’ve got a long week ahead of me, I think. I’m going to get my mind clear and figure out what to do now.”