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Pizza delivery driver fired for making Ohio State football joke

Oct 10, 2012, 3:29 PM EDT

pizzaguy

So the moral of the story I guess is don’t tell Luke Fickell’s wife that Ohio State needs a better defense. That’s what happened two weeks back when the OSU defensive coordinator’s wife called Iacono’s Pizza in Shawnee Hills to order a pie. The employee who took the order ended the conversation by joking that the Buckeyes had better do some better tackling in their upcoming game against Michigan State.

Later, Fickell’s wife called the pizzeria to complain that the employee had belittled her, according to several reports (including MyFox28 Columbus). The employee, who did not want to be identified (although his face is all over TV), was fired. All that’s known is that he attends Columbus State college.

Another Ohio job lost. President Obama does not approve.

Video here, courtesy Red Lasso.

The man says he was joking when he said the Buckeyes need better tackling and that Fickell’s wife laughed.

But the next day, he says he was fired.

Luke Fickell declined comment.

But an OSU Athletics spokesman says it would not be uncommon for a consumer to register a complaint with a retail manager over a negative experience, if the Fickells did indeed have such a discussion. It is unfortunate that this individual has lost his job, but the responsibility for this should not rest with the Fickell family.

Welcome to America, where people with high-profile jobs can make racist, insensitive or homophobic comments and get off with a lame apology, but a pizza delivery kid gets summarily fired for a harmless joke. Case in point: Wall Street Journal editor James Taranto tweeted that he hoped the three girls whose boyfriends died shielding them from the Aurora Theater gunman “were worthy of the sacrifice.” He later wrote in a column that the tweet was “ill-advised.” But he’s still employed, even though he got tons more complaints than the pizza guy ever did.

Now, who is more important to your life: a pizza delivery guy, or an editor for the Wall Street Journal? Pizza delivery guy wins EVERY time.

UPDATE: Ohio State has issued a statement reading that no one at the Fickell house called the pizzeria, but that the pizzeria manager called them. The university says that Mrs. Fickell never called to complain.

  1. thraiderskin - Oct 10, 2012 at 5:19 PM

    I don’t think he said anything wrong, but I doubt he was fired just because of this.

    • trbowman - Oct 10, 2012 at 5:53 PM

      I don’t doubt it. People have been fired for less.

    • jerseyshoregiant - Oct 10, 2012 at 6:32 PM

      He insulted a customer. Why couldn’t he just take the order and say thank you. If you insult a customer you deserve to be fired.

  2. trbowman - Oct 10, 2012 at 5:53 PM

    “Welcome to America, where people with high-profile jobs can make racist, insensitive or homophobic comments and get off with a lame apology, but a pizza delivery kid gets summarily fired for a harmless joke.”

    Maybe the best thing I’ve ever seen you write, Rick. Beautiful.

    • jerseyshoregiant - Oct 10, 2012 at 6:35 PM

      The kid insulted a customer. You can call it a joke but sometimes jokes are insulting. Why would that customer ever come back and spend money at that business. That customer tells another customer that an employee insulted them and suddenly you have lost a lot of customers. The kid deserved to get fired. He learned his lesson. Just take the order and say thank you.

      • trbowman - Oct 10, 2012 at 6:47 PM

        Ok Luke.

      • paperlions - Oct 10, 2012 at 9:33 PM

        Actually, the kid stated a fact to a customer. It was probably ill advised, but should be a firing offense. This is what happens when people take themselves far too seriously (like…oh…I don’t know….the wives of D coordinators).

    • skids003 - Oct 11, 2012 at 8:29 AM

      And if you’re a “journalist,” you can write or say anything, put it in quotes, claim anonymous sources, and claim Freedom of the Press, no matter what it is.

  3. bbk1000 - Oct 11, 2012 at 7:08 AM

    Amy Fickell, what a POS. Their next pizza will have had mushroom in it at some point, if you know what I mean….

  4. winkeroni - Oct 11, 2012 at 8:56 AM

    I order my fair share of pizza and usually have it delivered because I don’t feel like driving. If the food gets there in a timely manner and hot, I’m more than happy. I’m not sure what he said the the fickle Mrs. Fickell. If the food was hot and he didn’t curse the Fickells or the Buckeyes, I don’t believe there would be a reason to complain.

  5. florida727 - Oct 11, 2012 at 10:19 AM

    I hope people boycott Iacono’s Pizza until the guy gets his job back. This is beyond an “over-reaction”. As for Amy Fickell, really? You don’t have anything better to do than complain about a lame joke? Get a life. Enjoy your stay in Columbus. It’ll be over this year. After being forced to retain your husband, Urban will dump him and bring in the DC he REALLY wants very soon. You’re on borrowed time, honey. Your hubby’s vaunted defense is allowing 21 points and 387 yards per game. Getting the picture yet?

  6. kennyplan - Oct 11, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    So, is it any wonder why this is a one sided verdict. Maybe Amy Was trying to protect her husband, but it might just make sure he gets fired, based upon those stats. If that happens maybe she can join a new reality show that is in the works: The freddywoodtv.com website is looking for wives of football coaches, something like that one on football players wives. I hope they are saving some of that $750K salary he is getting.

  7. playfutbol2 - Oct 13, 2012 at 3:44 PM

    This is a case of lazy and terrible reporting. NBC, get your facts straight before you release something that casts a well-respected local business in a bad light. Mrs. Fickell NEVER called to complain. After hearing about the inappropriate comments made by his employee from another employee, the owner of the restaurant called her to find out exactly what was said and to apologize to her. After confirming his facts, the owner then fired the guy.

    NBC, you should be ashamed of yourselves, and should issue a public apology and correction of your story.

  8. hamstergram - Oct 13, 2012 at 7:33 PM

    This is a case of lazy and terrible reading by playfutbol2. Nowhere did NBC “report” that the wife called to complain. MyFox28 Columbus reported it. And did you miss this in the article?

    ” Ohio State has issued a statement reading that no one at the Fickell house called the pizzeria, but that the pizzeria manager called them. The university says that Mrs. Fickell never called to complain.”

    playfutbol2, you should be ashamed of yourself and issue a public apology. Or just stick to soccer.