To those fans who are upset about the NFL's recently announced change to its bag policy, Steelers President Art Rooney II wants you to know that he's listening.
The change, announced on June 13 and set to be implemented starting with preseason games in 2013, allows for each fan to being in one clear plastic or vinyl or PVC bag that cannot exceed 12-inches-by-6-inches-by-12 inches. In addition, each fan may carry in a small clutch bag.
"We are monitoring a lot of the comments we are getting from fans," said Rooney. "I would say that I'm not sure all of the fans understand the policy, and it's going to be up to us to make sure we communicate to fans exactly what they can do. We're certainly going to be trying to communicate as much as we can about the policy and what's going to be allowed and what's not going to be allowed."
For example, cameras and binoculars and blankets and tablets will not be affected as long as the items are not in separate bags. The restriction is not about what fans may bring into a stadium as much as it is a restriction on the type of container used to carry those items.
The lone exception to this new rule is for people bringing medically necessary items into the stadium. Each stadium will have a separate entrance where medically necessary items can be inspected.
"Certainly, there is going to be an allowance for what is referred to as a 'clutch purse,' so that our female fans can bring things in that don't have to be in a clear plastic bag, and we understand that's an issue for people," said Rooney. "There is some more communication that's going to be necessary on our part."
Rooney said he hopes fans can understand that the motivation behind the change to the policy is their own safety.
"For the most part people understand that in this day and age – particularly with what happened in Boston – we have to make sure people are safe coming to the building," said Rooney. "Yes, there are some inconveniences associated with that, but I think people have come to understand that those are the kind of precautions we have to take in our society these days."