Durbin Announces Judiciary Hearing on Sports Bounties

Will Invite Witnesses from the NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB and NCAA

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) announced today that he will chair a Judiciary Committee hearing on bounties in sports and determining whether federal sports bribery laws should be expanded to include sports bounty programs. The announcement comes the day after the National Football League (NFL) suspended the New Orleans Saints’ head coach, defensive coordinator, and general manager for their involvement in a bounty program used by the team. The hearing will be held before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime.


According to news reports, New Orleans Saints team members were rewarded for purposely injuring opposing players. In addition to the suspensions announced yesterday, the team was fined $500,000 and lost second round draft picks for two years.


“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.”


Representatives from the NFL, National Hockey League, National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball and the National Collegiate Athletic Association will be asked to testify.


Durbin announced the hearing in a speech on the Senate floor. His remarks, as prepared for delivery, are below.


Details about the hearing date and time will be announced soon.