A day after the NFL came down extremely hard on the New Orleans Saints for their bounty-for-injuries program, the United States Senate has announced that they are going to weight in as well.
Senator Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat and the assistant Senate majority leader is setting up a Judiciary Committee hearing to investigate the bounty program in the NFL and to explore if US Federal law should apply to bounty programs.
Let's be real basic about it here. If this activity were taking place off of a sporting field, away from a court, nobody would have a second thought (about whether it's wrong). 'You mean, someone paid you to go out and hurt someone?' Durbin said to the Associated Press. It goes way beyond the rules of any sporting contest, at least team contest, to intentionally inflict harm on another person for a financial reward, he said.
The committee intends to expand their investigation beyond the NFL and will speak with representatives of the four major sports.
This is not the first time Congress has looked into events in professional sports, there have been several high profile instances over the history of the country.
Theodore Roosevelt threatened to ban football in 1905 if the colleges that were playing it at the time didn't clean up the rules.
More recently Congress held hearings into the performance enhancing drug scandals in Major League Baseball. President Obama even suggested he would investigate the BCS for anti-trust violations while he was campaigning, however he has not yet followed through on that.
Durbin said that he intends to use this hearing to explore how Federal Law might prevent these kinds of programs in the future. He suggested that a possibility might be to extend sports bribery laws to cover these systems.