Bears face Packers fan in court ahead of rivalry game Sunday

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Before the Green Bay Packers square off against the Chicago Bears on Sunday, a Packers fan faced off with the football franchise in court Wednesday.

Russell Beckman, a Green Bay native, is a high school teacher during the week. On the weekend, he transforms into a Packers super-fan.

Three years ago, Beckman was on the field, decked out in green and gold, cheering alongside the tunnel as his beloved Packers took the field.

Beckman says the Bears told him he would not be allowed on the field ahead of this weekend's scrum if he was wearing Packers gear.

So Beckman filed suit against the Bears' owners in federal court.

This is America, last time I checked," Beckman said. "George McCaskey doesn't need to protect Bears fans from the likes of me."

Beckman and his attorney, Michael Lieber, say this case is about First Amendment rights.

"We're not only fighting for Mr. Beckman's rights, we're fighting for the rights of all fans who come to Soldier Field," Lieber said.

The First Amendment protects citizens from being censored or oppressed by the government, not private businesses or citizens. Bears attorneys declined to comment as they left the courthouse, but said while court was in session that the Chicago Bears organization is a private business allowed to dictate a dress code.

Beckman's attorney argued that Soldier Field is owned by the Chicago Park District and paid for by taxpayers.

Beckman is such a super-fan that he bought a Bears personal seat license just so he could go to the big Bears-Packers rivalry game once a year. He said this wardrobe tiff takes away from the sport.

"I love the rivalry, but the Bears are diminishing this rivalry. It's just stupid," he said.
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