Packers employee fired for remarks to McCarthy
Mike Wood can't remember the last time he watched a Green Bay Packers home game on television.
For at least 22 years, Wood has worked on game days at Lambeau Field as a part-timer with the stadium's maintenance staff.
It was a job he loved because it meant working for a franchise he loves.
That relationship is over. Wood, 53, was fired Nov. 1, the day the Packers lost to the Minnesota Vikings, 38-26.
He says it had something to do with a comment he made to head coach Mike McCarthy on the Thursday before the game.
Wood was initially reluctant to tell his version of what happened but then he agreed to speak to a reporter. His friends say Wood, known as Woody, deserves better.
Wood said he was sitting in a maintenance cart in a stadium tunnel when McCarthy was talking with members of the grounds crew.
With the season's most-hyped game only three days away, Wood said he yelled to McCarthy, "Hey coach, let's get the boys ready to kick some butt this weekend."
Wood says that's all he said.
The next day, a Friday, Wood came back to Lambeau Field to work. "Nothing was said," he said.
But on Sunday, Wood arrived at the stadium about 11:30 a.m. and immediately began his regular routine. There were nets to hang, and the field had to be cleared of debris, he said.
Wood said Allen Johnson, the team's fields manager, approached him. "What did you say to McCarthy?" he asked.
Wood said he repeated what he had told McCarthy. Wood said he was told that McCarthy thought he heard him make a comment along the lines of "don't lay an egg" in the game.
"I'm telling you, I had no knowledge of that," Wood said he told Johnson.
Moments later, Wood said Ted Eisenreich, the team's director of facility operations, approached him.
"If you didn't say it, who did?" Eisenreich asked Wood.
"I said I didn't know," Wood answered.
The next thing Wood knew he was being escorted from Lambeau Field and told he was out of a job. "Allen said to me, 'Woody, we can't have that stuff. We have to let you go.' "
Wood said he shook Johnson's hand and left.
Reached for comment, the Packers released a statement: "The organization has standards of conduct that apply to all employees, full-time and part-time, in order to maintain a respectful workplace. Mr. Wood's supervisors determined he made an inappropriate comment, and he was relieved of his duties."
Wood said he cried when he realized what had happened. He went to the Stadium View bar to watch the game, still bewildered by his firing.
"This was going to be my last year," said Wood, who said he had been working for the Packers for at least 22 years and as many as 25. "The truth is it was starting to get to me, the cold weather and so on," he said.
On Thursday, Wood, who has worked for the City of Green Bay for 34 years as a truck driver, insisted he had no idea what McCarthy thought he heard.
Wood says he's not even sure it's worth going back.
"I don't want to go back and be scrutinized," Wood said. "It's not the way I wanted to go out. But I know it didn't happen the way they said it did."
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