A Senate subcommittee will hold a hearing on bounties in sports, Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) announced Thursday.

   Durbin, the assistant Senate majority leader, made the announcement a day after the NFL suspended News Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton, General Manager Mickey Loomis, former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and defensive assistant Joe Vitt for their roles in a team program that paid players bonuses to injure opponents. The Saints also were fined $500,000 and stripped of a pair of second-round draft selections by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

   “Many sports involve human contact and the chance of serious injury,” Durbin said in a written statement. “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.”

   The hearing will be held before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on crime, according to the announcement by Durbin’s office. The hearing will explore whether federal sports bribery laws should be expanded to include such bounty schemes, according to the announcement. No date for the hearing was given, but, according to the announcement, representatives of the NFL, Major League Baseball, the NHL, the NBA and the NCAA will be invited to testify.

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