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Editorial: Stadium changes aim to keep fans safe

1:08 PM, Jun. 23, 2013  |  Comments
What seat cushions are allowed in Lambeau Field th...
What seat cushions are allowed in Lambeau Field th...: Packers Director of Security Doug Collins outlines changes to the NFL's gameday security policies and what is -- and isn't -- allowed to brought into Lambeau Field. (June 21, 2013)
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From the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich to the bombings at the Boston Marathon, sporting events have not been immune from terrorist attacks, though they have been thankfully rare.

A stadium filled with tens of thousands of people is a target, whether we're willing to consider it or not.

To that end, the NFL's Committee on Stadium Security recommended enhanced public safety measures that will begin with the preseason games. For the Green Bay Packers, it will begin with the Family Night scrimmage on Aug. 3 at Lambeau Field.

The Packers held a news conference on Friday to clarify some of the changes.

The banning of seat cushions garnered the most attention from the fans who must sit atop the metal bleachers during those frozen tundra moments of November, December and January.

A foam cushion serves as necessary insulation from both the cold and the hard seats.

As the Packers clarified on Friday, fans can still carry in foam pads to Lambeau, as well as seats with backs on them. However, the large seat cushions with concealable pouches or storage compartments will be prohibited.

Fans can still bring in blankets, and bags will be limited to small, clutch purses (the size of a hand) and small, clear plastic bags.

The idea behind the clear bags "is for law enforcement and public safety to view the items as they're (the fans) coming toward the stadium and as they're coming toward the gates," said Doug Collins, Packers director of security/risk management.

You might not like the changes, but these are the realities of life in the 21st century, and the fans will have to learn to live with these restrictions.

Since 9/11, we've seen enhanced security measures in our private and public lives, most notably at airports. As threats have evolved, so has security at sporting events.

Packers fans at Lambeau have been subjected to the pat downs, bag checks and metal-detecting wands. A concrete barrier, brick planters and pillars was erected around the stadium in 2007.

Some fans may be outraged by what they see as intrusions into their privacy and fun at the game, but they have weathered other restrictions, such as the ban on smoking at Lambeau, and we believe they can get along with some of the gear they're used to taking to the game.

Attending a game at Lambeau is a privilege, not a right, and law enforcement, in cooperation with the NFL and the Packers, have a duty to keep us safe. The goal is not to ruin your game-day experience, but to keep others from ruining it. We're confident these changes will not ruin that experience.

We would guess that the vast majority of the fans understand the necessity for these enhancements. There is a very, very small minority in the world who believe in indiscriminate killings and they've tailored their methods of attack to fit in seamlessly to the background of their target.

Neither the NFL nor the Packers can ignore that.

What's your take on the Packers Family Night change?

Retrieving results.
Watching practice is fine.(Your vote)
15%
572 votes
I'd rather watch a scrimmage.(Your vote)
22%
850 votes
I don't want to pay to watch practice.(Your vote)
27%
1011 votes
It doesn't matter to me.(Your vote)
34%
1268 votes

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