Pelicans begin enforcing new NBA bag policy


Posted on December 6, 2013 at 11:14 PM

Updated Friday, Dec 6 at 11:20 PM

Antwan Harris / Eyewitness News
Email: | Twitter: @antwanharris

NEW ORLEANS -- Longer lines may be one of the first things you notice when you get to the New Orleans Arena to cheer on the Pelicans. That could be due to the wait from bag searches outside.

Friday, the organization started enforcing its new bag policy in an effort to keep safety at the forefront.

Mike Stanfield, senior vice president of sales for the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans said, “The new policy came down from the NBA, and it is something they are enforcing. It is strictly a safety precaution. That is all it is.”

The new rules are similar to the NFL bag policy, except the arena allows a 14-inch bag -- two inches larger than the NFL.

The bag also does not need to be clear, but will be searched before you reach the gate.

Willneisha Lott is all in favor of the new rule. “I don't think it is an inconvenience. It stops people from bringing weapons into the games.”

Many of the professional sports teams policies changed after the Boston Marathon bombing. The goal is to save as many lives as possible.

It didn't work out at first for Carla Martins and her husband. She wasn't aware of the new policy and was turned away because of her husband's book bag.

“I asked him was there somewhere else I could take it because I couldn't go back to the hotel and make it back to the game," she said.

The new policies are just a number of ways sports programs ensure families are able to enjoy the games.

Pelicans officials say public safety is always at the top of the priority list.

“Safety is always number one no matter what you do,” Stanfield said. “In today's society, it is a matter of priority.”