March 09, 2009
John Gonzalez of the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote this morning about a fellow named Dan Leone, who, like a lot of other Eagles fans, was upset about the Eagles letting Brian Dawkins go. He changed his status on Facebook to reflect his anger about the situation. It read:
Dan is [expletive] devastated about Dawkins signing with Denver. . .Dam Eagles R Retarted!!
Given how much Dawkins meant to the team, and how the rest of the city reacted, I consider that pretty mild.
Problem is, Dan works for the Eagles. On game days, he's the west gate chief. Not exactly upper management, but still, it's a job with the organization. Someone in the organization got wind of his Facebook status, and was not pleased.
Less than two days after posting the Dawkins remarks, Leone said, he was contacted by Leonard Bonacci, the team's director of event operations. According to Leone, Bonacci said they needed to talk about Leone's Facebook page, and Leone agreed. Leone - who deleted the comment - figured that the two would sit down and that he could apologize to Bonacci in person. But Leone said Bonacci never got back to him after that.
Two days later, Leone said, he received a call from Rachel Vitagliano, the team's guest services manager. Leone said she fired him over the phone. The conversation lasted less than 10 minutes.
And now Dan Leone sits at home, angry and hugging his keyboard.
I guess that's the Eagles' prerogative, and Dan's certainly not the first person in history to be fired for criticizing his employers on Facebook. It's 2009, chief. You've got to be aware that people are looking at what you're saying on the Internet, and if you say your bosses are "retarted," you can't expect a pat on the back for it. It was a dumb thing for him to do.
Still, it seems a little harsh to me. It's a victimless crime. We're talking about a guy here who worked for the team sixteen days a year and has been an Eagles fan his whole life. So his Facebook page insulted the Eagles. Big deal. Who was it exactly that cried themselves to sleep at night because Dan Leone said something mean about them on Facebook? What damage has been done here?
The Eagles heard the same thing and much worse from radio talk show hosts, columnists, and bloggers in the wake of Dawkins leaving the organization. I know they probably didn't enjoy that criticism, but it seems petty to take out their frustration on one guy who was within their reach.
Gracias, Hugging Harold Reynolds.
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