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Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/20/14

Urban Meyer, and his football program, just can't seem to catch a break.
A local Ohio pizza parlor employee was fired as a result of comments that he made regarding Ohio State's defensive play. Though the firing seems absurd, he may have voiced his displeasure to the wrong person.




According to NBC sports, the incident occurred when the wife of defensive coordinator, and former interim head coach, Luke Fickell called to order food. When the man realized who was on the other end of line, he told reporters, he made the comment "you know, we really should improve on our tackling because it's… it's… it's really bad right now."
Though the comment was received by Mrs. Fickell with a chuckle, apparently it didn't sit well with somebody else.
The Fickell family did not call and complain about the man's comment, rather they were contacted to ask if the incident had actually occured. After it was confirmed the unidentified man was fired on the spot.
Ohio State has become a hotbed of controversy in recent years, and though this may seem small, occurrences like this aren't making life any easier for its new head coach. Fickell refused to be interviewed regarding the incident, but Ohio State is adamant that he was not in any way responsible for the employee's firing.
Though the man may not have a future in pizza he may have one in football. Just a few days after the incident the Buckeyes nearly lost a one-point thriller to Michigan State, you guessed it, due to poor tackling.

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81 Comments:
  • Pizza Guy should realize he's just a Stupid Pizza Guy and keep his stupid (i.e. not funny) comments to himself.
  • The truth hurts huh? Moron.
  • Chieflooser.

    First the guy is smart. OSU defense sucks. This is the land of free speech not the Ayatollahs.

    Who is the moron now?
  • sounds like you are a real knuckle walker; perhaps you should have had a job with Penn State, and cheered on Jerry while he was buggering kids in the shower
  • That's a pretty big stretch, don't you think?
  • That's just it. He didn't think.
  • ChiefEagle, Seriously? You went there. Hate to tell you, but most "stupid pizza guys" do it part time. I am a pizza guy, because I need the extra money to help raise my three kids because my ex doesn't pay her child support, or help out in any way, and I have an MBA with a 3.87 GPA. I do not consider myself stupid! Not to mention; have you ever heard of the first ammendment? My guess is unless he is in a "no fault" state, he can file a claim with the labor board, at a minimum.
  • ChiefEagle, this is your boss. Quit f--king off on the internet on company time or you're fired.
  • y don't u shut ur pie hole ChefEagle!
  • You stupid, rude person, At least he's not sitting on his butt like some people do. I also think that pizza place went way over board. What he did was quite innocent.
  • Now ask me if I care, sweido.
  • It just dawned on me, sweido, that you don't know the difference between a discussion board and a pizza parlor. People go to discussion boards to voice their opinions. It kind of adds something to the discussion when people discuss things. People don't usually call a pizza parlor to get some random, uneducated pizza guy's ignorant, pointless opinion about how well they're doing they're job. Do you understand or do you need further education?
  • ChiefEagle, you sound a bit like an egotistical snob. How do you know how well educated the pizza employee is? It is quite possible that he has more letter after his name than you do. With your self centered remarks it wouldn't surprize me a bit... Being a Buckeye fan myself I find your remarks insensitive and not well thought out at all.
  • You are assuming he is uneducated due to attending Ohio State?
  • the pizza guy knows more about OSU defense that the former lame duck head coach that now coaches the defense....The new name for the OSU defense is " the eleven stiffs"
  • Chieflooser.

    First the guy is smart. OSU defense sucks. This is the land of free speech not the Ayatollahs.

    Who is the moron now?
  • A discussion board is to give your opinions, not to put people down. Maybe you should think about taking a finesse class. You are not a very nice person at all!
  • Chiefeagle and the pizza guy have a right to their comments. He must be a democrat, else he would understsnd the American process.
  • Wow, you really are defensive, Yamahammer.
    The Pizza Boss is obviously a communist.
  • Hey chiefeagle...get back to work...the fries r burning.
  • You are a sick puppy!
  • Really? You must be an idiot. The right to comment, yes...the right to deliver poor service, no. He got fired because he stepped out of line with a customer.
  • Okay let's deal in reality here. Who's the real idiot? The pizza boy didn't get fired because of poor service. The pizza boy got fired because the owner is worried that his business will be black balled by the devout OSU fans. I'm not a fan nor do I live in that area of the country. However having played football in a college town I do understand the local loyalty provided by ususally, small businesses. I can also respect that loyalty as it is typically returned by the community. Let's just put it this way had Michigan been in town and their D/C was ordering a pizza himself, and the pizza boy made the same comment he probably would've been promoted to assistant manager....not fired. Now unlike a lot of you on here I won't comment on his intelligence as I've never even met the guy. Hell my best guess is that he's probably a die hard fan that actually thought his opinon mattered and meant no ill will at all. Nonetheless I will say this without knowing him. Obviously he's not very aware of his surroundings or the culture that goes with it. Even I could've told him bad move dude and I've never even been in the area....
  • No, you are wrong. When pizza guy says something that harms the business reputation or can be construed to disparage a customer, he can be fired. I would definitely fire one of my employees if they made a stupid comment like that to a client of mine. He is a pizza guy, pure and simple, keep his non-pizza comments to himself.
  • Perhaps the grease from the local pizza joint is a contributing factor to OSU's poor tackling performance.
  • love it when some idiot with no knowledge or experience in something can critisize someone else just because that someone else voiced their opinion. Do you agree chiefeagle
  • If Ohio State or this coach didn't have him fired...then that Pizza Parlor manager did. Why? Did he think that customers wouldn't return due to his comments? IF that's the case, then he is perfectly within his right. I doubt he had a contract to work at this pizza joint. I think his firing is ridiculous regardless!
  • You should be able to order a pizza, with out the help getting into your face.Take the order like you get payed to do and that is it. Then say thank you for your order,and ask her if there is anything else she wants. then hang up, the phone.
  • I think there are a few stupid pizza guys reading this article.
  • And one writing it.
    By the way how many degrees to you have?
  • Its you!!! You brought my pizza last night!!
  • i heard Chiefeagle likes a big uncut sausage on his pizza.
  • If they thought the pizza sucked they would have called to complain, so why can't the pizza guy complain, or more or less make a suggestion, especialy when he's right on target. We fans spend big bucks for the tickets so why can't we complain? It's also freedom of speech. I hope the coach feels bad.
  • Because:
    1. The pizza guy is not calling the coach's wife ordering football.
    2. The WIFE doesn't need to be getting snarky comments when she is ordering her pizza.
    3. If the manager or owner deems that his business is going to suffer for that kind of behavior, he has every right to make a change.
    4. If you don't like the product on the field, vote with your dollar and stop spending money on it.
  • You must be on something illegal to even think that Urban or any of his cronies would even begin to care about anyone else.
    He is probably laughing his hinie off as we speak. If any of those clowns in Columbus were half a man they would have backed him and said "Yes, we need to tackle better". They didn't so what does that tell you?
  • He works for a business that provides a product to the whole city.Fans of every type of sport.When they call in they should not be confronted by people on the phone.He should take there order and thats it.
    He should voice his displesure in a talk room on the net
  • Being confronted vs. having something said in jest are two different things. She wasn't harassed so calm down.

    However, the owner was definitely within his rights to fire the employee if he believes that his behavior was unprofessional and didn't like it.
  • And you should learn how to spell "displeasure".
  • Ohio knows it's true. Pretty touchy.
  • From what I have read it was the manager or owner of the pizza place that fired the employee. I'm sure he didn't think the employee was representing his company in a positive manner. When you are serving the public you must keep your opinions to yourself or you run the risk of being fired. He should have voiced his opinion somewhere else and not to the customer. Hopefully this will be a learning experience for this employee,and if not well he got his 15 minutes of fame from it.
  • It just goes to show just like his nephew, Andrew, Luke needs to learn a few manners. Because without their legions of idiot pizza guys, sorry i mean fans, OSU is nothing more than an over rated joke.
  • Hey youn are on to something here. I like your way of thinking.
  • He should be fired because (possibly) the owner believed that his behavior was unprofessional? Give me a physical break! Is she didn't like the comment (as innocent as it was reported) then she should have patronized a different pizza shop. People don't have to keep their opinions confined to opinion forums. Nerds, it's a football game for God's sake.
  • The pizza guy is right and if people can't handle criticism agianst their team they should move on. I ranted all night on FB about the OSU defense. Nebraska should have never scored 38 points.
  • LOl....Keep the pizza guy, and fire Luke Fickell!!!!
  • Does anybody else remember when this used to be America, the Land of Free Speech.
  • In the end, the pizza guy was right. Deal with it. Who ever was responsible for the firing should not be afraid to admit it. But since it is what it is....those responsible are hiding because it is chicken s&*%)t. The coach should be man enough to agree that the team has poor tackling skills and try to improve on it, not get a working guys job (who apparently has a better grasp on the teams short falls)and WOW you showed him whos BOSS didnt you! You sir, are a JERK!
  • What? What? The coaches wife and family didn't complain.

    What? What?
  • Lots of class Ohio State...getting a guy fired in these bad economic times? And dont anyone think for a moment OSU wasn't behind him getting fired. I hope they lose every game for the rest of the season.
  • I guess if you can't handle the truth, you pick on a little guy to take the attention off of you. If the statement that was printed is in fact correct, then I don't see anything malicious in it. I only see a fan that wants to see his team do better and thought the best way to get his point across was take it to the source. But like anything else sh-- runs down hill and the little pizza guy just got some organic pizza sauce dumped on his pizza dough. I'm on his side, I thought the tackling sucked too.
  • This world is all a joke, Today you cant say 1 thing about anythig,we have all info on camera, pepole are so dum, everthing is on tape, I thing its great, and people thing that they can do whatever they want to do, no way will you get away with any bad or say anything, THAT someone said is wrong ???.
    today you must think of all you do, and if anyone think that you will not get court, guest what YOU ARE WRONG, I think with all this its good to be safe for all !!!
    have a great day.
  • Lot's of assumptions here. Maybe he had a history of making comments to customers and the manager told him to cease making them and 'take pizza orders'. We will probably never know it all and don't need to know. He's probably some college kid trying to help his parents out with his tuition - at least he's trying. Lesson learned. PS - Their tackling does stink.
  • Bahhh hhhhhaaaaa hhhhhaaaaa, who cares -- we're 6-0 fools!
  • That's right. Go Bucks!
  • All OSU really cares about is their stupid football program.
    For what they are paying those morons they call coaches they should be able to accept some critisism especialy if it is TRUE!!!!!
    You are right drew100 OSU's actions show just how much CLASS they really have, witch is absolutly NONE!!!!!!!
    I have been an OSU fan for over 46 years but the way OSU has acted the last few years is horrible and I myself hope they lose every game the rest of the season and every coach there
    gets his DUMB A** fired too. I worked for OSU for more than 16 years and the whole Dam* school is a giant freakin JOKE!!!!!!!!!!!! way to go OSU for showing the world just how ignorent you really are!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Normaly I would jump at the chance to trash out the Puke Eyes. But pizza guy should've kept comment to himself. It was a business transaction however small.
  • Although the manager has the right to terminate the employee, you gotta wonder how he found out the comment was even made. Unless he was standing right there. Wife of the coach should probably have thick enough skin that a comment like that wouldn't matter, but we all know Ohio sucks ass to begin with. In sports, as a state, etc. I mean, come on, Cincinnati even thinks it's the chili capital of the "woild". Toledo bulldozed the Willy's plant. Bitch Puleeeze. People fly OVER ohio if they need to get to Michigan. People drive AROUND Ohio when they go on vacation. And you're not gonna convince me someone from Ohio State didn't lean on the guy's boss. The pizza guy may be a total imbecile, but regarding Ohio's performance, he was right. Ohio's just not worthy of pizza or football. Or beer.
  • Ah come on now, give the man his job back. Looks to me like this coach's wife is nothing more than a hick married to a kick, just another pretend star who thinks he's a big man..
  • Pizza BOY, you really should improve your knowledge base because, as an at-will employee, you can be fired for any reason (except discrimination) or NO reason. You're, you're, you're REALLY STUPID.
  • The longer I live, the more I just don't understand people. Are we really this shallow as a people where a person makes a comment and we tell him he's stupid (Especially when it seems like he was right)? We care more about what he says and we don't care about a life? With this type of attitude we will no longer make any progress because people will be afraid to state their opinions.
  • iTS A SHAME THIS PUBLICATION DIDN'T HAVE THE GUTS TO NAME THIS PIZZA PLACE AND IF A NATIOPNAL CHAIN AS THIS MAN LOSING HIS JOB IS AN INFRINGEMENT ON 'FREEDOM OF SPEECH' AND AS A RULE OF THUMB 'OHIO FOOTBALL SUCKS' TO SAY THE LEAST
    nEW eNGLAND pATRIOTS ARE THE BEST TEAM IN FOOTBALL WITH bRADY ITS ALL TIME GREATEST PLAYER, IF i KNEW TRHE PIZZA'S CHAIN NAME i'D NEVER GO THERE GEE WE CAN'T EVEN VOICE AN OPINION ANYMORE
  • Screw all you "freedom of speech" morons. I own the business and can fire you for any reason I like. You don't like that, then start your own business. This moron employee shouldn't be making stupid comments to customers. That infringes on MY business reputation and therefore I have the right to fire him.
  • Are you kidding. Of course someone called to complain. Otherwise, how did the Pizza Company know to call the coach to ask if something was said? They don't call randomly to ask if employees were rude.

    That being said. Unless the comment was solicited, the Pizza Guy should not have said anything negative as a part of good and positive service. However, he should not have gotten fired either for such a ridiculous thing, unless he had a history of other issues.
  • Another article said that noone called to complain, it was a co-worker at the pizza place that told.
  • Hey, if the guy's boss owns the pizza place, he has the right to fire the guy for insulting a customer. Guy should have kept his mouth shut and just done his job. I would fire one of my staff if they made a disparaging remark to a client of mine.
  • So much for free speech. Somebody needs to kick his boss in his pepperonis
  • Iacono's Pizza in Shawnee. USA Today said that Fickell laughed at the time but then called back and told the manager that she would "never order pizza from them again". Bitch.
  • Of course there are two different stories now.
  • well...you gotta feel real good about yourself gettin the pizza guy fired!! espescially in today's economy!! you know...if you DONT get your defense fixed,you could be the next one getting fired!!!
  • I do not think the pizza guy should've made the comment...however right he may be, it just wasn't necessary. That being said, I think firing him "on the spot" was a little harsh. I mean ok, he made a dumb comment, give him a verbal warning...next offense, you write him up...then you fire him. I mean really!!! And I agree, they had to have complained...I thought it said he told someone, but it was reporters, so obviously after the firing. But we don't know, maybe the employee had a history of this kind of behavior, or other "bad" issues & this was the straw that broke the camel's back!
  • I think it's called "Implied Consent". By wearing the Pizza Parlor's uniform, or clearly working in the Pizza Parlor, outsiders may legally consider Pizza Guy's opinions as also managements. This could easily hurt the Parlor's reputation. Lucky he didn't say anything slanderous.
  • The flip side to this is, would you now want to go to this Pizzeria now that you know the management does not tolerate a person's right to freedom of speech? That being said, I would, because people are people and we all make mistakes. It's how we tolerate other people's mistakes. I know I would rather forgive and tolerate, then get angry and fire/boycott.
  • send th 2nd stringers to joker phillips
  • There are two different stories out there. Iacanno's has great pizza, so I doubt they would stop ordering from them based on one comment. I tend to find the story about the pizza company finding out about the story and verifying it. My guess is the self-absorbed pizza guy bragged to his co-workers about what he did and one of them passed it on to the boss. The boss then called the family to verify the story. Were they supposed to lie and say it didn't happen? All of you "freedom of speech" people need to go back to high school. That only applies to the government punishing people. Employers can do whatever they want if they don't like what you say -- especially while you are on the clock. Ohio State didn't get anyone fired. This idiot got himself fired because he treated a customer poorly. Hopefully he has learned the lesson that there is a proper time to express your opinion. It is not when someone is paying for you to provide customers with a service.
  • Im not sure if every one is reading the same article or not but I read that the pizza guy stated, "we need to improve our tackling". I hardly find this offensive,abusive, slanderous or a reason to be fired. I know there is problably more to the story, but im sure coaches here far worse things out in the public. Fans get into sports and it can be very emotional. There is a time and place for comments. Nobody knows in which context the comment was made. An emotional losing coach, after a game could be just as harshly convicted of the crime of which the pizza guy is (if this is the origin of the complaint). It would be interesting to find out however just how this came to be. Then the real story unfolds. Remember, this guy has been fired for stating what analysts are problably saying right now on national tv. Should these people be fired as well? For all the same reasons that every one of these comments listed about this article have stated? Or every one that has made comments on this blog, should you be fired too for your comments? Think about it. Why just him??
  • Maybe the coach should hire the pizza guy to coach his defense? I hear he is looking for work...
  • and vice versa...This way the ex-coach can tell the ex-pizza guy how he's doing....
  • ALL of you retards here and everywhere out there that think the
    pizza guy should have been fires make me sick and sorry that me and my family served in our millitary to PROTECT YOUR FREEDOM OF SPEECH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    And to the jack ass that owns the Iacono's pizza place this is one family that will never again by pizza from your peice of SH*T pizza shop. So there, you just lost a customer and more will certinly follow. Now was the coach's buisiness worth it dumb A**.
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