MSNBC Finds Sexism Angle in... NFL's New Stadium Bag Ban?!

August 20th, 2013 5:16 PM

Leave it to the Lean Forward network to weave a war-on-women theme into just about anything. Today the network's Tamron Hall and Janet Shamlian hinted sexism was in play with a new NFL ban on large bans in stadiums. The move, they complained, disproportionately affected female football fans who might set out for the big game with a large bag or purse.

Here's how NewsNation host Tamron Hall introduced her show-ending "Gut Check" segment:

Time now for the NewsNation Gut Check. A new rule for attending NFL games has women on the defense, you might say. Starting this season, no large bags will be allowed in any NFL stadium. NBC's Janet Shamlian is outside FedEx Field where the ban was put to the test during Monday Night Football.

Shamlian picked up the baton Louis Vuitton and ran with it:

Yeah, this new rule is really putting women on defense. We tend to love our very large purses, but if you're heading to an NFL game this season, this is what your carry everything bag is going to have to look like.

The NFL has new rules this season, but they're being enforced not on the field by referees but at the stadium entrance by security.

It's a ban on almost every type of bag, from backpacks to camera cases to diaper totes. And, yes, ladies, that includes all but the tiniest of purses.

Fans are scrambling to comply. At the Monday night game, many were turned away.

At that point, Shamlian aired a soundbite from a female fan who brought a bag she thought was small enough to pass muster but was too large according to the new security rules.

Shamlian did note that the "ban follows the Boston Marathon bombing" but thus far only "applies to football, not Major League Baseball or the NBA." The NBC reporter then turned to NBC News security analyst Michael Leiter who described the new bag ban as understandable but "more extreme than we've seen elsewhere."

But with that out of the way, Shamlian groused that this "move comes as the NFL is increasingly focused on the female fan" who comprises "almost half of all pro football viewers" and is "the one who usually controls the [family] checkbook."

Shamlian then turned to Jeremy Miller, the NFL's chief security officer, who predicted that "most fans" would eventually "be supportive of our new policy."

"It could be a tough sell," Shamlian shot back. "A woman's purse is her world. Even the guys get that."

Shamlian then wrapped up her segment by showing an NFL-approved clear tote bag that meets the new standards.

For her part, Hall then joked that she and her crew needed to get into the clear tote bag-making business before she posed her daily "Gut Check" question:

What does your gut tell you? Do you agree with critics who say the NFL's new bag rule is unfair to the ladies? Women, go to to cast the vote.

Now, in fairness, the tone of Shamlian's piece wasn't angry or accusative, and neither the word "sexism" nor the term "war on women" ever came up. And for her part, Ms. Hall likewise seems a bit bemused by the controversy. That being said, it's instructive that the "gut check" question posed by the liberal cable network was how the policy supposedly is "unfair to the ladies" rather than asking viewers whether it may just all around be paranoid security overkill.