Bears denied entrance to Chicago club

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- As if losing three out of their last four games wasn't bad enough, over 20 Chicago Bears were turned away from a Chicago nightclub during a "Rookie Night" tradition that features veterans treating the rookies to a night on the town.

Lance Briggs, Devin Hester, Brian Urlacher and many other teammates were denied entry Monday by three bouncers at "Angels & Kings," which is co-owned by "Fall Out Boy" bassist Pete Wentz, the husband of singer Ashlee Simpson.

"I do know that we didn't get in," Briggs said Thursday. "I know that it's a place I've been before, and for whatever reason, 25 Chicago Bears couldn't get in."

That reason, according to a statement by the club, was because an outside vendor was hosting a private event.

"Every Monday night, operations of the bar are turned over to an outside vendor who hosts special events," the statement read. "We understand that this Monday night, members of the Chicago Bears were not admitted to the venue. We have terminated our relationship with the outside vendor. We will continue to investigate the facts and have started to reach out and apologize to the various Bears players who were involved."

Two sources said the Bears arrived on an upscale bus, and not all of them departed the bus before they were denied entrance and proceeded to another bar.

"If it was a private event, let us know it was a private event [and] we'll move on," Briggs said. "If not, hey, let us in. We're all paying customers. I'm pretty sure on 'Rookie Night,' you're gonna get an extra amount of dough."

A Chicago Sun-Times columnist, citing an anonymous source, said the players felt they weren't let in because there were too many African-Americans in the diverse group.

But one African-American player, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the players didn't believe the motivation was racial. In fact, the player said he tried to get into the club on the previous Monday with a white teammate and a black teammate and was turned away by the same vendor. That player also said he's been to the bar many times and was treated "great."

"I'm not too sure about all [the racial speculation]," Briggs said. "I can only speculate on what happened there. But it sounded along those lines that maybe the crowd was too dark.

"But I wasn't there at the front door. That was just hearsay for me."

Michael C. Wright covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com. Roman Modrowski contributed to this story.