Green Bay fan sues over Bears’ sideline ban on Packers gear

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 31: A fan of the Green Bay Packers looks on as his team plays the New York Jets on October 31, 2010 at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Packers defeated the Jets 9-0. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

CHICAGO — One Green Bay Packers fan is going to court over a favorite Wisconsin pastime of disparaging the arch rival Chicago Bears.

Russell Beckman filed a lawsuit in federal court Friday, June 16th accusing the Bears of violating his free-speech rights by prohibiting fans from wearing Packers apparel at Bears’ pregame warmups. He is seeking a court order lifting the ban.

Beckman lives in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin, near the Illinois state line and holds Bears seasons tickets. Season-ticket holders can attend certain pregame warmups on the sidelines.

The Bears sent Beckman an email before a December Bears-Packers game warning in capital letters, “NO OPPOSING TEAM GEAR WILL BE ALLOWED.” He went in Packers apparel anyway and was turned away.

The Bears didn’t respond to a message seeking comment Monday.