Sports

Video: Washington's Nathaniel Wentz fired after wearing Broncos jersey to work

The Super Bowl match-up between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks pairs teams from states that both allow sales of recreational marijuana. But that doesn't mean the build-up to the big game has been especially mellow.

An example: Nathaniel Wentz, a Broncos fan who happens to live in Washington, was sacked after wearing a Demaryius Thomas jersey to work. Photos, video and details below.

The story comes to us courtesy of Seattle's King 5 TV. As noted by the station, Wentz worked at Odyssey 1, a family entertainment business in Tacoma.

Staffers at Odyssey 1 were told they could wear a team jersey this past Sunday, when the last playoff contests prior to the Super Bowl took place.

Presumably, management assumed everyone would show up in Seahawks togs, since Seattle was playing the San Francisco 49ers that day. But Wentz is a lifelong Broncos booster, and when he showed up rocking white, blue and orange in honor of Denver's tilt against the New England Patriots, he was told to go back to his place and change.

Wentz did indeed head home, but he didn't return -- and he learned the next day that he'd been fired.

The technical reason for the sacking was Wentz's decision not to come back to Odyssey 1 for his shift wearing approved duds. But employment law would have allowed him to be handed his head for his initial choice of shirt, too, since businesses have the right to determine appropriate outfits for workers -- and in Tacoma these days, Thomas's number 88 apparently doesn't qualify.

Back at his abode, part of which resembles a virtual Broncos shrine, Wentz took his Odyssey termination in stride during his King 5 TV interview, expressing pleasure that now he won't have to worry about being scheduled to work on Super Bowl Sunday.

Would bosses in Denver make a similar move? Well, here's a personal anecdote from this past Sunday. Prior to the Broncos-New England game, my wife and I went to our neighborhood King Soopers to stock up on supplies. Our checker, a longtime staffer at the store, is an East Coast resident with a distinctive park-the-car-in-the-yard accent -- and unlike her fellow employees, who were all decked out in Broncos gear, she proudly wore a Patriots jersey. But while my wife and I joked with her about her garb, the guy behind us, wearing a Broncos cap, glared angrily at the checker throughout the conversation.

Relax, man. It all worked out okay.

Here's the King 5 TV report.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our Sports archive: "Videos: The Daily Show, Colbert Report on Denver-Seattle marijuana Super Bowl."

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts