The Packers and Bears have played 194 times. Chicago and Green Bay are less than four hours apart, and fans from either team frequently attend Bears-Packers game at the opposing team’s field. This is fine. This is how sports work. But one thing the Bears won’t stand for is letting a fan in Packers gear stand on Soldier Field.
As noted by Crain’s Chicago, a Packers fan has filed a federal lawsuit against the Chicago Bears. Russell Beckman, a Bears season ticket holder, alleges that the team prohibited him from a ticket-holder perk of standing on the field pregame if he were to wear his Packers gear.
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 Bears ticket employees who reiterated the policy as written in the terms and conditions of the offer, Beckman showed up anyway and was denied access to the field, the suit alleges.
“I am not aware of any loyalty test of oath to the Bears that my two guests must partake in order to enjoy this experience,” Beckman wrote to the Bears in an email that was submitted as part of his lawsuit. (He wrote had two guests he was going to bring to the on-field experience.) He continued in that email to Brendan Pierce, the director of ticket sales for the Bears:
I have also purchased passes for the Midway Presented by Xfinity for my guests and I. I found nothing in its rules that indicate I can not wear my Packer gear into that “experience.” Of course, I paid for the passes and will purchase food and beverages in that venue using my green and gold “Packer NLF [sic] Extra Points” Visa card. Will your bartenders refuse to accept that card and insist that I pay with a Bear version of this card? I doubt it. However, that could change next season as your team continues to move towards the creation of segregated safe spaces for Bear fans who suffer from anxiety due to the presence of greater numbers of opposing fans in your publicly owned and financed stadium. Please know that you really do not understand that your fans are tough, resilient, and worthy of my respect. Maybe you should also respect them, their grit, and stop coddling them.
Beckman, who is representing himself in the case, is not seeking monetary damages. He writes in the lawsuit that he wants the court to order the Bears to allow fans on the field in whichever team gear they want.