Richard Ray

Chicago Bears Violated Fan's 1st Amendment Rights: Suit

A spokeswoman for the Bears say the team does not comment on legal matters.

A Green Bay Packers fan claims in a federal lawsuit filed Friday the Chicago Bears violated his First Amendment rights.

Russell Beckman, who is from Wisconsin, says he is a season tickets holder for the Packers and the Bears—two teams he loves—but a dress code at a Soldier Field event stopped him from wearing his Green Bay gear on the field, he says.

Attendees to The Bears Season Ticket Holder Experience events must be in Bears attire to attend.

Beckman says that’s where his rights are being trampled in the suit he filed.

"The rivalry is what makes sports great," he told NBC 5. 

He is representing himself.

He says during two events for season ticket holders he’s worn his Packers gear without incident, but before an event in 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 says. "This is about me trying to get the Bears to change what I think is a misguided policy."

Beckman says he has been a season tickets holder since 2003 and that his name is on the the stadium wall.

A spokeswoman for the Bears say 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."

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