CHICAGO — A die-hard Packers fan has lost his court bid to don his Green Bay gear and stand on the sidelines before Sunday’s Chicago Bears-Packers game.
A federal court judge in Chicago on Thursday denied the temporary restraining order and injunction sought by Green Bay resident Russell Beckman against the Bears. That means on Sunday, Beckman, 56, will not be allowed to wear his Packers jersey and accessories at a pregame event on the Bears sidelines.
In June 2017, Beckman filed a federal lawsuit in Chicago against the Bears, alleging that in 2016 the team barred him from the pregame event at the Bears-Packers game because of his Packers gear; he sought to prevent that from happening again. The suit also named the National Football League as a defendant, but the NFL was successful in its bid to be removed from the case.
The lawsuit is pending. But with the Bears-Packers showdown looming, Beckman was trying to ensure he’d make it on the field this time.
Beckman’s attorneys argued in court earlier this week that he should be allowed to wear his Packers jersey and accessories because Soldier Field is a public space maintained by the Chicago Park District.
Judge Joan Gottschall disagreed. “Being on the opposing team’s side line implies an association with the opposing team while standing in the end zone mere feet away from Bears players warming up suggests to the average football fan something much more out of place,” she wrote in the ruling.
Michael Lieber, an attorney for Beckman, said Beckman’s legal challenge will continue. “The judge today said the parties’ arguments to the Court were essentially a tie ball. But a tie ball goes to the home team at this juncture. This case is in its early stages,” Lieber said in an email.
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