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The NFL: An Increasingly Intolerable Bureaucracy

The biggest threat facing the NFL today.

The biggest threat facing the NFL today.

Under the watchful eye of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, for the last several years the league has been continuously implementing subjective new rules addressing player safety and dishing out completely arbitrary discipline to so-called offenders.

Granted, there are legitimate reasons behind the new found emphasis on the long term implications of repeated blows to the head that players have been suffering for decades. Most of them being financial, of course.

Goodell is paid upwards of $30 million a year to address the ever growing problem and is basically just trying to get one step ahead of the massive lawsuits that are in the pipeline. It’s all about the bottom line.

Player safety is one thing—they are legitimately at risk and putting their lives on the line for our entertainment. It’s a difficult issue to address with broad rule changes, but there’s no question that it does need addressed.

The suicide of famed linebacker Junior Seau brought this discussion to the forefront of the sports media. His death came just two months after the Saints notorious “Bountygate” scandal initially made headlines. Proving there’s no question the NFL has some serious issues to contend with.

One thing that the league doesn’t have to address is women carrying purses to games. Yet that’s exactly what their new bag policy, effective as of the 2013 season, is doing. Likely an overreaction to the Boston Marathon tragedy, the league recently announced the new policy that is supposedly aimed at improving public safety at games.

The policy officially limits the size and type of any bag brought into stadiums. And we all know that women bring the vast majority of bags into stadiums. So instead of their standard purse, they now have the option of a tiny clutch bag the size of a hand or a clear ziplock baggie “not to exceed” 12″ x 6″ x 12.”

That’s right. The NFL and Goodell have arbitrarily decided to ban 44 percent of their fan base from carrying an absolute wardrobe staple with them to games. A strange move considering their attendance peaked in 2007 and has been steadily declining ever since.

How many women are responsible for terrorist acts? How many fan altercations in the stands in recent years have been the result of something carried in a purse? It’s safe to say very few to none. Probably none.

If the NFL is so worried about public safety at games, they’d ban alcohol in stadiums. But they’re not really worried about public safety—they’re worried about public relations. This is a PR move and a bad one at that.

The league has had a declining audience in stadiums for five straight years and now they’re implementing a policy that has the risk of alienating 44 percent of their fan base. Asking people to carry their belongings in a gallon ziplock bag is ridiculous.

But that’s Roger Goodell’s NFL. Ridiculous.

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