Packers fan with Soldier Field season tickets sues Bears

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Bears-Packers rivalry reached a whole new level: federal court.

The Packers fan is accusing the Bears of violating his free speech rights, all because he was barred from standing on the Soldier Field grass in his Packers jersey.

Russell Beckman is the type of Packers fan Bears fans love to hate: Fiercely loyal, unabashed and willing to throw a Hail Mary to win.

"The Bears, in their actions, are disrespecting the rivalry, disrespecting their fans," Beckman said.

That's why the 56-year-old high school Social Studies teacher from Mount Pleasant, Wis., is now suing the Monsters of the Midway.

Despite his Packers loyalties, Beckman has Bears season tickets. Last December, at frigid Soldier Field, he was denied entry onto the field for a pre-game event for season tickets holders because he was wearing Green Bay garb.

"This is not just an experience for Bears fans," Beckman said. "It's an experience for Bears season ticketholders, which I am."

Beckman said he had worn his Packers jersey to a similar Soldier Field fan event two years earlier. But for last season's event, the on-field credential stated, "No visiting team clothing allowed."

After emailing a complaint, Beckman arrived in green and gold, and was barred from the field.

"We're not little children. We don't need to segregate ourselves based on our beliefs and who we support as a team," he said.

A Bears spokesperson said the team does not comment on legal matters. Beckman isn't suing for any money, other than legal expenses. He said he simply wants the Bears this season to change its policy.
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