A judge has ruled that a Green Bay Packers fan cannot sue the NFL over what he says was a violation of his First Amendment rights, but the complaint can continue against the Chicago Bears.
Judge Joan Gottschall on Friday determined that Russell Beckman has not "established that he has standing to sue the NLF, but the complaint states a First Amendment claim against the Bears."
Beckman, who is from Wisconsin and is a season ticket holder for the Packers and the Bears, said a dress code at a Soldier Field event stopped him from wearing his Green Bay gear on the field.
Attendees to The Bears Season Ticket Holder Experience events must be in Bears attire to attend, according to the rules.
Beckman, who is representing himself, said that’s where the First Amendment rights violation comes into play.
"The rivalry is what makes sports great," he told NBC 5.
He says during two events for season ticket holders he’s worn his Packers gear without incident, but before an event in December 2016 he received an email saying opposing team gear was not allowed, according to the suit.
After confirming with the Bears he wouldn’t be allowed to attend in his Packers attire, Beckman donned his native Wisconsin gear anyway and was denied entry to the event, the suit says.
According to the suit, Beckman appealed to the NFL but received no response.
"This is not about me shaking down the Bears," he said. "This is about me trying to get the Bears to change what I think is a misguided policy."
Beckman said he has been a season tickets holder since 2003 and that his name is on the the stadium wall.
A spokeswoman for the Bears said the team does not comment on legal matters.
"I have great respect for Bears fans. They have grit, they have tenacity, they're very persistent, these are great hardcore fans that I respect and I admire," Beckman told NBC 5. "They don't need a team to create a safe space for them within Soldier Field."
Beckman has until April 23 to file an amended complaint. A status conference is scheduled for May 9.