A judge has ruled against a Green Bay Packers fan that tried to wear his team’s gear on the field before a Chicago Bears game at Soldier Field, only to be turned away by stadium officials.
That fan, Russell Beckman, sued the Bears, arguing that they were violating his First Amendment rights to wear the gear when they prevented him from standing near the field before a 2016 game at Soldier Field.
Judge Joan Gottschall denied Beckman’s motion for a preliminary injunction and a temporary restraining order that would have allowed him to wear his Packers gear on the field before Sunday’s game against the Bears at Soldier Field.
“The Judge today said the parties’ arguments to the Court were essentially a tie ball. But a tie ball goes to the home team at this juncture,” Beckman’s lawyer said in a statement. “This case is in its early stages. As we proceed through discovery, we expect that the facts will show that the Bears are so entwined with a public entity—the Chicago Park District—that the Bears must uphold all Soldier Field patrons’ First Amendment rights. And that includes fans of opposing teams.”
Beckman, who is a Bears seat license and season ticket holder, purchased an opportunity to watch pregame warm-ups before the team took on the Packers in 2016. When he arrived at Soldier Field in his Packers gear, he was denied entry to the field, and he later filed a federal lawsuit against the team.