by Katie Ballard
AT&T Stadium implements NFL’s new Purse and Bag Policy to keep fans safe and events running smoothly.
It’s every woman’s worst nightmare: exposing all the hidden contents of her purse for the world to see, especially when she’s not even sure exactly what may be in there. After the NFL implemented the Purse and Bag Policy for the 2013 season, women sports fans around the country, including in Dallas, have had to show it all.
The NFL Purse and Bag Policy limits the type of bags that one can bring in to the stadium to clear plastic vinyl, or clear plastic freezer bags that do not exceed 12” x 6” x 12. AT&T Stadium liked this procedure so much that they have implemented it for all of their events, including concerts, rodeos, monster jams, and other events starting with the 2013 NFL season.
Meredith Bayoud, a Dallas native, has been attending Dallas Cowboys games at AT&T Stadium in Arlington for as long as she can remember. Like most people, Bayoud understands the reasoning behind this new rule, but finds it sad that people must be subjected to such scrutiny.
“Who actually has a clear bag to use or that they want people to see? And there is no way that all of my stuff will fit into a tiny bag,” said Bayoud.
According to Paul Turner, director of event operations at security at AT&T stadium, this policy ensures that guests will not be able to conceal weapons, knives, alcohol, or anything else that may be a significant threat to the crowd. It also enables the stadium to scan the crowd more effectively and efficiently.
“If you come to see the Cowboys, a concert or even a high school football game, the new policy applies,” said Turner. “It is because of that we refer to it as the AT&T Stadium Purse/Bag Policy.”
Violence at NFL games has been an ongoing issue. In 2003 at an Oakland Raiders San Diego Chargers game, a Raiders fan stabbed a Chargers fan. Last year, New York Jets fan James Mohr was so brutally beaten by a Kansas City Chiefs fan that he was hospitalized and had to undergo surgery. Fan violence like this is exactly what the NFL is trying to prevent with the policy.
EJ Holland, a freelance writer and public relations intern for the Cowboys, and an SMU journalism student, believes that the Purse and Bag Policy is the perfect remedy for preventing fan violence at NFL games.
“The new policy is only annoying to those who make it annoying and fail to comply. It’s not too hard to purchase one of the clear bags, and it actually gets you in faster,” said Holland.
The Code of Conduct Policy for AT&T Stadium list behavior that will lead to removal from the stadium, including: abusive, foul or disruptive language and obscene gestures; intoxication or other signs of impairment related to alcohol consumption; fighting; taunting or threatening remarks or gestures; sitting in a location other than the guest’s ticketed seat; displays of affection not appropriate in a public setting; and obscene or indecent clothing.
“Everyone who attends a sporting event deserves to go home in the same condition as they arrived. We cannot, and do not, tolerate any behavior that is violent, threatening or disruptive,” said Turner.
There are over 5,000 part-time staff members who work for AT&T stadium ensuring fan safety. A Courtesy Patrol team in the stadium parking lot, for example, keeps an eye on tailgaters to make sure that they are playing by the rules. AT&T Stadium also has a fan text message service where guests can report inappropriate fan behavior, and the stadium will dispatch security and police personnel to respond, Turner said.
Dallas commercial real estate broker and Cowboys enthusiast Conner Ivy can remember going to Cowboys games as a young boy, and having some of his most cherished memories.
“As America’s team, it is important for tailgating at the football games to be a safe family environment for all fans to enjoy, versus a wild party atmosphere,” said Ivy.
AT&T Stadium and the Dallas Cowboys organization have made it a priority to keep this family friendly legacy going, and to ensure that fans have a safe and memorable experience, Turner said.
“We need to do everything we can to inspire people to be their best, enjoy the event they have paid a lot to see, and remember that we are all in this together. We all must remember that we have a responsibility to each other and that we share the experience and the space,” said Turner.