Employees & Facebook: OK to fire for personal posts?

We can all probably agree on this: Criticizing your employer on the Web is a stupid thing to do. But what should the punishment be?
Dan Leone was the west gate chief on game days at the Philadelphia Eagles’ Lincoln Financial Field. He worked on game days for the Eagles for six years.
Recently, he became upset at the Eagles’ decision to let longtime Safety Brian Dawkins sign with the Denver Broncos.
Leone expressed his frustration with Dawkins’ departure by posting this on his Facebook page: “Dan is [expletive] devastated about Dawkins signing with Denver … Dam Eagles R Retarted!!” (We haven’t corrected any spelling in the post.)
Leone regretted his post soon after making it and took it down.
Less than two days after posting his remarks, Leone says he was contacted by the team’s director of event operations, Leonard Bonacci, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. Leone says Bonacci told him they had to talk about the Facebook post.
Two days later, Leone says, he received a call from the team’s guest services manager, Rachel Vitagliano, who fired him over the phone in a call that lasted less than 10 minutes. Leone says he never heard back from Bonacci.
Leone says he was ready to apologize, and did so when he got the call that he was fired. He says Vitagliano didn’t want to hear it and told him he couldn’t be trusted, the post made the team look bad and the only option was to fire him.
As you might imagine, Leone’s story has become a célèbre. The article in the Inquirer notes that he grew up in the shadow of the Eagles’ old Veterans Stadium and that he has a neurological disorder called transverse myelitis. The disorder requires him to do his job at the stadium sometimes in a wheelchair.
The title of the article is a rallying cry: Cold Eagles sure are thin-skinned. It suggests the Eagles could have handled the situation with a warning, a suspension and that Leone deserved a face-to-face meeting even though he was a part-time employee.
Leone says, “If they called me right now and told me to come back to work, I would. I’m not holding any grudges. I just want to do my job.”
So, what do you think? Was the firing too harsh? What about the way it was allegedly handled? (The Eagles won’t comment.) Is a suspension with a warning a better way to handle this situation? Does it depend on exactly what’s said in an employee’s Web post? How would you handle an employee’s Web post critical of your company?
Let us know what you think in the Comments Box below.