A Green Bay Packers fan is suing the Chicago Bears over the team’s dress code, which he says prevented him from wearing his Packers’ gear on the field during special game-day events — which he had access to as a Bears season ticket holder.
Russell Beckman, a Wisconsin native and longtime Bears’ season ticket holder, filed a lawsuit in federal court Friday seeking the right to wear gear from the team’s bitter rival on the field.
Beckman, who is representing himself without an attorney, believes the Bears’ dress code, which prohibits him from being able to wear opponents’ gear during fan experiences, violates his First Amendment rights, according to the lawsuit.
The Bears launched the “STH Experience” in 2014, which offers reward points to loyal season ticket holders that can be cashed in for game-day experiences.
Beckman, who has owned a Bears’ personal seat license since 2003, used his reward points for a “pregame warm-up field experience,” which allowed him to stand beside the field for the Bears and Packers warm-ups. During the 2014 and 2015 seasons, he went to the event decked out in his Packers’ gear without any issue, according to the suit.
Beckman was expecting to do the same in 2016, but six days before the game, he received an email with a list of rules, including one that said: “No opposing team gear will be allowed,” according to the suit.
After exchanging emails with the Bears’ season ticket holder office, Beckman knew he’d be denied entry into the experience if he wore his gear, the suit said. He did it anyway and as expected, wasn’t let in.
Beckman appealed the matter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell but received no reply, according to the lawsuit.
So Beckman decided to make a federal case out of it, taking it to a judge in Chicago now.
Beckman said in the suit that the Bear’s dress code “deprived me of my ability to fully enjoy this specific on-field experience.” He’s not asking for money. He wants the Bears and NFL to allow fans to wear what they want during fan experiences, according to the suit.