NFL Bans Bags: New Security Policy Targets Female Fans, Critics Say

The NFL has banned bags from stadiums next season, a change that falls hard on female fans and has already been met with criticism.

The rule change was announced on Friday, essentially banning purses and diaper bags. League officials said the rule was discussed before the Boston Marathon bombing in April but that the attack was a consideration in the new policy.

Under the NFL bag ban, fans are restricted as to what they can bring with them into the stadium.

The rule places many restrictions on fans, allowing only the following:

• 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.

The NFL’s bag ban notes that purses larger than a clutch, coolers, briefcases, backpacks, fanny packs, luggage, and a host of other large bags are not prohibited.

“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 “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.”

Critics noted not only the the league appears to be targeting women but at the same time appears to be pushing its own line of clear bags.

USA Today writer Chris Chase doesn’t see the NFL bag ban lasting too long.

“There’s justifiable anger about the policy and not enough security upside,” he wrote. “The league is trying to get people to come to the stadium, not keep them away. If the NFL is so concerned about the efficiency of security lines, hire more security guards. It can afford them.”

League officials have responded to concerns about the NFL bag ban, telling one female blogger that the approved bags would still be big enough to fit diapers and whatever other items are needed during a game. All members of a family can carry in approved bags, officials noted, allowing them to bring in more.

Do you think the NFL bag ban is fair?