Yesterday, like plenty of other Saturdays in the last three years, I headed down to Lincoln Financial Field to watch the Temple University Owls football team.
Apparently, in May, soon after the Boston Marathon bombing, the NFL brain trust (aka the NFL Committee on Stadium Security) announced a new 'bag policy' called "Be Clear on Game Day Safety." Their press release said, "To provide a safer environment for the public and significantly expedite fan entry into stadiums, NFL teams have implemented an NFL policy this year that limits the size and type of bags that may be brought into stadiums." Even when it's a college team playing in the stadium.
It goes on to explain that "the NFL strongly encourages fans to not bring any type of bags, but 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.”
Pretty. I don't know about you, but I haven't seen many of women carrying clear plastic handbags this fashion season. And just in case you don't have a clear plastic or vinyl bag sitting around, official NFL team logo clear plastic tote bags will be available (conveniently) through club merchandise outlets or at the NFL.com website. Otherwise, just bring a Ziploc bag. A Ziploc bag.
OK, I "get" security and I want to feel safe just as much as the next fan. But this policy and the way it's being operationalized just seems to discriminate against female football fans and for sure, parents with small children who may need to bring supplies. And it doesn't make me feel any safer in a stadium filled with drunken, testosterone-filled fans. (Stop selling beer, you say? No way!)
Back to yesterday's game. After the security supervisor instructed my game guest and I that we could "stow her purse in the lockers," (which, according to him, "we don't have to provide, but we do it as a convenience for our fans."), we were directed halfway around the stadium, to the farthest gate from our seats. I don't know about you, but convenience would be if the lockers were actually at every gate.
Like most security measures concocted after a tragedy, this makes no sense. Major League Baseball has more stadiums, more games, and millions of fans entering those stadiums over 162 games. But they know that their fan base has ALOT of women in it and to institute a security policy like the NFLs would likely result in a public outcry. Why the NFL Committee on Stadium Security felt the need to "unanimously recommend" their policy I'll never understand.
Let's "be clear," the NFL — and apparently NCAA teams using NFL stadiums—-would prefer that women and small children stay home.