DENVER – Tampon-confiscating Texas Capitol Police, meet the National Football League. You've now been outdone when it comes to treating women as second-class citizens. The league that specializes in players being arrested on a weekly (if not daily) basis now views female NFL fans as presumed-guilty potential criminals. Or as a Cleveland Browns fan and writer for the women's blog The Broad Side put it in a brilliant bit of online sarcasm, "Those Mid-west soccer moms are a tricky bunch, so I completely get why you'd treat them like sleeper cells."
Thanks to a decision by some unknown group of NFL bureaucrats that presumably included zero women, you will no longer be allowed to bring a purse to an NFL game. For an organization that's trying to market more to women – more than 40 percent of its fan base – it doesn't get much dumber than this. Does it occur to the NFL that among the things we carry in our purse are 1) our companion's baggage, including man-wallets and keys and 2) sanitary supplies?
Like most things in the NFL, this is about money. Although you can't bring your own purse, the NFL will conveniently sell you a clear plastic tote you can use – for $12. And nothing says "touchdown!" like a Kotex display. The boys club that constitutes the Broncos front office told local media that the season ticket holders and denizens of the stadium suites will be given totes for free. Everybody else – ordinary fans in other words – are out of luck.
I've been to 100,000 person events with President Obama in Denver's Civic Center Park. I'm in and out of the Colorado State Capitol on a daily basis – and I was there the day a state patrol officer shot an armed gunman. I flew from New York to Amsterdam to Africa this summer. None of these instances required me to surrender my purse. But then, President Obama wasn't trying to get me through the turnstiles to sell me a $12 tote and a $9 beer as quickly as possible.
According to the NFL website: "This is about both safety and improving the overall fan experience." Horsepucky. If all these other venues can manage security without treating women as criminals, so can the NFL.
The reason this pisses me off is that I'm a football fan. I saw my first NFL game at six months of age – my dad took me to a Houston Oilers game because my mom made him. I'm the commissioner of an all-woman Fantasy Football League. Like most Coloradans, I'm not a season ticket holder. I'm a fan who tries to go to a couple of Broncos games a year.
But not this year. The expense keeps going up, the hassle keeps getting worse, and compounded with NFL greed and the aggravation of the Purse Police it's just not worth it. I'm calling on my fellow women football fans to boycott NFL games and go Ruth Buzzi on the NFL bureaucrats until they rescind this stupid, sexist policy.
Because apparently the NFL now means Not For Ladies.