In its quest to improve security at all stadiums (and perhaps to pick up a few merchandising bucks in the process), the NFL has revised its policies for what fans -- mostly female fans -- can bring into stadiums. Here are the new parameters:
The NFL strongly encourages fans to not bring any type of bags, but outlined what is permissible. Beginning with preseason games, fans will be able to carry the following style and size bag, package, or container at stadium plaza areas, stadium gates, or when approaching queue lines of fans awaiting entry into the stadium:
- Bags that are clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and do not exceed 12” x 6” x 12.” (Official NFL team logo clear plastic tote bags are available through club merchandise outlets or at nflshop.com), or
- One-gallon clear plastic freezer bag (Ziploc bag or similar).
- Small clutch bags, approximately the size of a hand, with or without a handle or strap can be taken into the stadium with one of the clear plastic bag options.
- An exception will be made for medically necessary items after proper inspection at a gate designated for this purpose.
Prohibited items include, but are not limited to: purses larger than a clutch bag, coolers, briefcases, backpacks, fanny packs, cinch bags, seat cushions, luggage of any kind, computer bags and camera bags or any bag larger than the permissible size.
Among those bags now not allowed are the ones sold on official team websites.
“Our fans deserve to be in a safe and secure environment,” said Jeffrey Miller, NFL vice president and chief security officer, on the league's new "All Clear" site. “Public safety is our top priority. This will make the job of checking items much more efficient and effective. We will be able to deliver a better and quicker experience at the gates and also provide a safer environment. We appreciate our fans’ cooperation.”
This will not go over well with anyone who likes to carry a purse, to be sure. Of course, we're on board with the banning of man-purses, but that's more an overall style point. Female football fans, of which there are many, aren't happy at all.
From longtime Houston Texans blogger (and friend of Shutdown Corner) Steph Stradley:
The functional purse ban an inconvenience. @NFL doesn't care b/c run by men, & they know it won't stop fans from going to games
— Stephanie Stradley (@StephStradley) June 14, 2013
Melissa Jacobs of TheFootballGirl.com e-mailed a league spokesman after one of her readers brought up the issue of parents of very young children bringing diaper bags to stadiums, and she got this response:
"This is something that we contemplated. We are sports fans and attend events throughout the year, too, and took a long look at possible concerns people would have. Simply put the contents of the diaper bag into an approved bag. If there are necessary medical items for the child there would be an exception made after proper inspection at a gate designated for this purpose. The 12x6x12 bag is a decent size and can fit diapers, bottles, wipes, etc. I had a to go bag that size for my kids that worked well on day trips. And it's one bag per person so other family members would be able to help."
We certainly understand the need to establish effective security parameters, but at a time when the NFL is looking for more ways to keep fans going to stadiums as opposed to staying home and watching RedZone or watching games on their phones and tablets, the new policies seem a bit short-sighted -- especially in the ways they seem to inconvenience and exclude female fans.
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