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Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) passes the ball during the second half of the AFC Championship NFL playoff football game against the New England Patriots in Denver, Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014. Broncos will face off against the Seattle Seahawks on Super Bowl Sunday.
It’s not easy being a Broncos fan in Seahawks land. One teenage fan learned it the hard way during the conference championship games last weekend.
Nathaniel Wentz, a die-hard Denver Broncos fan, was sent home Sunday from his job at Odyssey 1 Family Entertainment Center in Tacoma, Wash., after wearing a Demaryius Thomas jersey, Seattle NBC affiliate KING reported.
Wentz said his manager told employees to wear football jerseys to show off team spirit during the games Sunday, but when Wentz showed up in Broncos garb, his manager told him to go home and change into something else. Wentz said the manager apparently meant only Seahawks jerseys were allowed.
Wentz’s father, Randall Wentz – also a Broncos fan – tried to speak with the owner of Odyssey 1, who never called back, so Nathaniel stayed home.
The next day he found out he was fired.
The 17-year-old high school quarterback, who has followed the Broncos for most of his life, said he was technically fired for not returning to work on Sunday, but he believes the jersey was the reason for his firing.
"It was all about you can’t. You can’t represent your team. There’s something wrong with that," Nathaniel told KING.
A manager at Odyssey 1, who would not give out her name, confirmed on Wednesday that Nathaniel was fired because he didn’t come back to work. She would not discuss the situation further.
Odyssey 1 addressed the incident in a statement posted on its 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 teams’ 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.
Seems like Nathaniel will have plenty of time to cheer on his beloved Broncos when they face off against the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2.