Should the Chicago Bears have the right to deny field access from fans wearing opposing colors?
Green Bay Packers fan Russell Beckman doesn’t think so — and he’s taking the Bears to court over his right to wear green and gold at Soldier Field.
At issue is an incident from this past season. Though he’s an unabashed Packers fan, Beckman has owned a personal seat license at Soldier Field and season tickets for Bears games since 2003. He has also taken part of the “STH Experiences” program the team offers to fans who rack up “rewards points” for different purchases.
For the past three seasons, Beckman said he’s spent his “rewards points” on a chance to stand at the edge of the field during pregame warmups. He wore Packers gear during the 2014 and 2015 trips but said he was denied field access when he wore Green Bay colors for last December’s game between the oldest rivals in the NFL.
Beckman appealed to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, but didn’t hear back, presumably because the commissioner has more important things to do.
Beckman then decided to take legal action against the team. In a lawsuit detailed by Crain’s Chicago Business, Beckman says the Bears have “deprived me of my ability to fully enjoy this specific on-field experience and the general experience of the Bears-Packers game at Soldier field.”
Good thing Beckman’s a Packers fan. He’ll need plenty of cheese to go with that whine.
Beckman is representing himself and “seeking that the Bears and the NFL be ordered by the court to not enforce this rule for the 2017 season and beyond.” Beckman tells Crain’s that he believes the restriction is illegal because Soldier Field is a publicly-owned stadium.
Now, we presume that judges in the U.S. District Court also have more important things to do than deal with the hurt feelings from a geographically-challenged Packers fan. So we’ll see if this lawsuit even makes it to a ruling.
Then again, we shouldn’t count out Beckman so easily. It’s been awhile since anyone wearing Packers colors has been successfully kept from doing whatever they want on Soldier Field.
More NFL coverage from Shutdown Corner: