Senate Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said Thursday that he would chair a hearing of the Judiciary Committee on bounties in sports to determine whether federal bribery laws should be expanded to include such activities.
Durbin made the announcement a day after the NFL suspended New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton for one year and imposed other suspensions and fines on Saints personnel for their involvement in a bounty program.
“Many sports involve human contact and the chance of serious injury. But when an injury is by design and is paid for, we’ve moved beyond any definition of sport,” Durbin said. “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.”
“After consulting with Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy and Crime Subcommittee Chairman Sheldon Whitehouse, I will convene a hearing to explore the prevalence of this bounty practice and determine whether existing sports bribery laws should be expanded to include a prohibition on bounties,” Durbin said.
According to Durbin, representatives from the NFL, NHL, NBA, Major League Baseball and the NCAA will be asked to testify.