NFL beefs up security for this week’s draft

The NFL is increasing security for this week’s draft at Radio

City Music Hall, with everyone subject to screenings, including use

of metal detectors and pat-downs, and searches of personal

property.

Even league officials, players and their families will be

subject to such measures.

The league said Tuesday that spectators who don’t consent to the

security requirements will be refused admission. The draft begins

Thursday night and has sessions Friday night and Saturday

afternoon.

All sports events have ramped up security since the Boston

Marathon bombings last week.

”In light of the current state of affairs, we decided to make

adjustments for the fans’ safety,” NFL security chief Jeff Miller

told The Associated Press. ”We had a concern about individuals

that might want to replicate what occurred or approach another

sporting type event. This is the first large event in New York City

on the sports events side since the events in Boston.”

Those adjustments also will mean about 20 percent more security

personnel and increased K-9 explosive detective teams on site.

New York police and draft organizers are recommending spectators

minimize the number and size of all items carried into Radio City.

Fans are urged to bring nothing larger than a small purse. Large

backpacks have been banned for some time.

Prohibited items also include beverages, footballs and beach

balls, noisemakers and horns.

Lines to enter the theater are expected to be lengthy and the

NFL is urging fans to arrive early.

”There will be some very visible things and we’ll also be doing

things behind the scenes that people won’t notice,” Miller said,

noting the league is working closely with the NYPD, federal

authorities and private security firms.

Miller was contacting some two dozen draft prospects who were

invited to attend, along with their family members, to alert them

to the enhanced security arrangements. He made it clear that when

the league says everyone will be subject to the security checks, it

means everyone.

”It includes me and my staff, and the commissioner, the players

and families,” Miller said. ”This is an immediate response to

what we saw last week.”

Miller suggests that a ban is possible eventually on all bags in

NFL stadiums. He plans to discuss that with the 32 teams in the

near future.

”I am a proponent always that we have to be careful about

allowing bags in stadiums,” Miller said. ”I am not a big fan of

that; there are too many variables there.

”It is part of our best practices protocols at stadiums to not

allow the large backpacks. We say if you do allow bags, they must

sit within the template for size.”

That’s usually 12 inches by 12 inches by 12 inches or

smaller.

”And the bag has to be screened first,” he added. ”I would

say going forward we will see less tolerance for the introduction

of bags into stadiums.”

Online: http://pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL