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Dick Durbin Wants to Question NFL, Professional Sports on Bounties Dick Durbin Wants to Question NFL, Professional Sports on Bounties

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Congress / SENATE

Dick Durbin Wants to Question NFL, Professional Sports on Bounties

photo of Dan  Friedman
March 22, 2012

CORRECTION: An earlier version misstated the day on which Sen. Dick Durbin announced the hearing. It was Thursday.

Dick Durbin has questions for the NFL—and other professional sports. 

On Thursday, the Senate majority whip said he will chair a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on bounties in sports, after the news that the National Football League sanctioned the New Orleans Saints for operating a bounty system. 

 

The NFL is penalizing the Saints for running a bounty system that paid players bounties of thousands of dollars to injure players on opposing teams. The league suspended the Saints' head coach, defensive coordinator, and general manager; it also fined the team $500,000. Other teams reportedly had bounty systems as well.

Durbin, D-Ill., said the hearing, which has not yet been scheduled, will examine whether federal sports bribery laws should be expanded to include sports bounty programs. Representatives from professional football, hockey, basketball, and baseball—as well as the National Collegiate Athletic Association—will testify, he said in a news release.

 “Many sports involve human contact and the chance of serious injury,” Durbin said. “But when an injury is by design and is paid for, we’ve moved beyond any definition of sport. I’m happy that the NFL acted swiftly once a bounty program was discovered. But questions remain about what the NFL and other professional and collegiate sports organizations are doing to protect their players and the integrity of their sports.”

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