The story comes from Crain’s Chicago Business, who report that Russell Beckman, a Wisconsin resident and Bears season ticket holder, despite being a rabid Packers fan (Image warning on the link: graphic use of Green Bay Packers gear and green hair dye enclosed, NSFW if working with Chicago fans).
A few seasons ago the Bears introduced Season Ticket Holder experiences, which allows for STHs to earn points that they can cash in for events and experiences, such as pre-game field access during warm ups.
Wisconsin resident and Bears season-ticket holder Russell Beckman sued in federal court, seeking an order that the Bears let him don rival gear on game day.
Beckman, a Bears personal seat license and season-ticket holder since 2003, according to the suit, says in the complaint that he spent his rewards points in 2014 and 2015 on an offer to stand on the edge of the field during pregame warmups and wore Packers gear without any issue.
Then last season, he used his rewards points again for the pregame warm-up offer for the Bears-Packers game in December. A few days before, he got an email from the team with details for the experience that said "no opposing team gear would be allowed."
After trading emails with the Bears season ticket office and, being told that was the policy, Beckman showed up in Packers gear anyway and was denied access to the field.
His argument is that since Soldier Field is publicly financed and owned, the Bears are oppressing his right to free speech through the policy.
Now he has asked the court for help on the grounds that the team has "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," he wrote in the lawsuit. He is "seeking that the Bears and the NFL be ordered by the court to not enforce this rule for the 2017 season and beyond.
Personally, I don’t see where the government suppression of free speech comes in but I didn’t go to those prestigious Green Bay law schools.
As if it wasn’t a “first-world problem” before, the Chicago Sun-Times reports that Beckman holds season tickets to both the Bears and Packers just so he is guaranteed tickets to both of their games. So, definitely first-world issues for this dude.
The Sun-Times actually had a phone interview with Beckman and he did offer some respect for the Chicago team and their fans, emphasizing that his choice of on-field attire is really just part of his game day experience.
“I enjoy going to Chicago to watch the Bears play the Packers every year in Soldier Field,” he said Monday in a phone interview. “I think the Bears are being disrespectful to their fans by not letting them wear what they want.”
He also said that he attends other Bears season ticket holder events.
“When I attend other Bears events, I’m very careful to not wear Packers gear unless it’s the day of a game,” Beckman said. “I don’t want to be in people’s faces. But when I go to games, I like to wear my [Packers] jersey. It’s part of the experience.”
What do you think? Is Beckman trying to disrespect the Bears home turf or does he have an argument? Do you think his lawsuit holds a chance?