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Volume 24 No. 156
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NFL Announces Extra Security Measures, Limits Types Of Bags Allowed In Stadiums

The NFL on Thursday introduced a new policy that limits the size and type of bags that can be brought into stadiums. The NFL Committee on Stadium Security in May unanimously recommended the implementation of the measure which looks to enhance public safety and make it easier for fans to gain access in all stadiums. Fans can bring bags that are clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and do not exceed 12" x 6" x 12", one-gallon clear plastic freezer bags and small clutch bags, approximately the size of a hand, with or without a handle or strap. An exception will be made for medically necessary items after proper inspection (NFL). In Phoenix, Megan Finnerty notes blankets, which "don’t fall under the NFL’s bag policy, are still permitted, but seat cushions are not." Cardinals VP/Media Relations Mark Dalton said that the league had been "discussing restrictions, but the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15 pushed the issue to the fore." Cardinals VP/Stadium Operations John Drum said, "Not to say that it is a direct result of Boston, but the various bags that come into the stadium and the various items that could come into the stadium that we don’t want there. ... The less people bring in to the stadium, the less we have to deal with and worry about" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 6/14). Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio noted this is a "pretty significant change for folks who go to games and like to bring stuff." But the move is "primarily about security … even though it's going to make some fans upset." Florio: "This is something the NFL feels strongly about" ("PFT," NBC Sports Network, 6/13).

CHECKPOINT CHARLIE: The AP's Barry Wilner noted a secondary buffer area "well outside the stadium will be established where security personnel will check for prohibited items or bags being carried toward the ballpark." Stadium personnel are being "encouraged to have approved bags on hand to give to fans, or to have a place outside the restricted areas to check items, so that fans can reclaim after games." The NFL recently has done "pat downs and bag checks and also used metal detectors to upgrade security." The new policy has "worked well at colleges such as Penn State, Michigan and Michigan State, which do not permit any bags in their stadiums" (AP, 6/13). In Pittsburgh, Ed Bouchette notes because Univ. of Pittsburgh home games also are played at Heinz Field, the "same restrictions will be in place for those games" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 6/14). 

: Chiefs President Mark Donovan said, "The most important thing is we develop a system that creates a safe environment for everyone, but also takes into account the realities, and that’s one of the reasons for the clutch purse. Most of the things (women will have) will be able to fit into the size of purse we’re going to allow. That was a consideration that was talked about at the league level, and it’s something we tried to accommodate by allowing the clutch" (K.C. STAR, 6/14). But in Indianapolis, Erika Smith asks, "What woman in her right mind ... is going to load up her smartphone, lipstick, money, credit cards, keys, not to mention tampons, in a clear plastic bag for all the world to see? Not many, I predict." The NFL has made "great strides in recent years in attracting women" but suggesting a Ziploc bag is "not one of the league’s better ideas" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 6/14).