The NFL is limiting the size and kind of bags fans bring into stadiums, beginning with preseason games. The restrictions are designed to enhance security and speed stadium entry.
After the Boston Marathon bombings, security at many large-venue sporting events changed. Security lines were long at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Indy 500 when cooler sizes were strictly enforced, and they were carefully searched by security before fans could enter the track.
It's all a part of a new day and age where sporting organizations don't want to leave anything to chance when it comes to fan safety.
With the exception of necessary medical items, only clear plastic, vinyl or thick plastic handbags no larger than 12" by 6" by 12" will be allowed. One-gallon clear plastic freezer bags also will be OK, as will small bags about the size of someone's hand, with or without a handle or strap, that are in a clear plastic bag.
The Lesnik family are big football fans, so they headed into the Colts Pro Shop Thursday evening. There, mom could buy one of several styles of Colts purses. But thanks to the new rule, she can't take the purses out of the shop and around the corner into Lucas Oil Stadium for a game.
The purses in the pro shop meet the 12" x 12" x 6" rule, but they're not transparent.
Joy Niles, a former Colts cheerleader, learned of the rule Thursday night at the pro shop.
"I'm absolutely fine with it. Whatever is better for the safety of the players and the fans is fine by me," she said.
Banned items will include purses larger than a clutch bag, coolers, briefcases, backpacks, fanny packs, cinch bags, seat cushions, luggage, computer bags and camera bags.
"I don't have a problem with that. When I go to the game I have a small camera and lip gloss and that's about it," Niles said.
"They don't bother me," said Colts fan Rob DeGraff, agreeing that the rule makes him feel safer.
"If you're going into a game, you don't really need to bring much with you," said Mark Lesnik, who said the new regulations will not affect him "too much."
The Colts issued this statement in response to the news:
"The Indianapolis Colts are reviewing the new NFL bag policy for fans attending home games at Lucas Oil Stadium during the 2013 season. The Colts will comply with the new rules and will provide detailed information to fans in the near future."
The new rules should go into effect August 11, when the Colts host the Buffalo Bills in their exhibition opening game.
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