Teen's choice of jersey doesn't pay

Updated: January 22, 2014, 4:53 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

A teenager said he lost his job in Tacoma, Wash., this past weekend after initially being sent home because he was wearing a Denver Broncos jersey.

Nathaniel Wentz said he was fired by Odyssey 1, a family entertainment center in Tacoma, for not returning to work Sunday. He was sent home after being asked to change out of the Broncos jersey into a standard uniform, according to the company.

But the 17-year-old Wentz told Colorado's NBC affiliate KUSA-TV he was fired for donning a Broncos jersey.

"It was all about you can't," Wentz told KUSA. "You can't represent your team. There's something wrong with that."

The Broncos will face the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl on Feb. 2.

Odyssey 1 acknowledged it invites employees to wear Seahawks jerseys on Sundays in order to "show support" for the team on game days. The company posted a statement on its Facebook page Tuesday, claiming that wearing other teams' jerseys is prohibited in order to "prevent possible conflicts." Tacoma is located about 30 miles south of Seattle.

"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," the company's statement said. "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."

Wentz's father, Randall Wentz, told KUSA that he called Odyssey 1 and asked to speak to the owner. After the call went unreturned, Wentz says, his son decided to stay home. 

Nathaniel said he learned the following day that he'd been fired.

He indicated to KUSA that he wasn't too concerned about losing his job -- at least he won't have to work when Peyton Manning and the Broncos take on Richard Sherman and the Seahawks.

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