Does The Senate REALLY Need A Hearing On This?

23Mar12

Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin plans on holding Senate hearings over the New Orleans Saints bounty program.

Durbin from the LA Times:

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. 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.

Is this really the function of government to look into this? What the Saints did was wrong and the NFL was right to punish them as harshly as they did. But I always bristle whenever I hear of government looking to get involved in sports. Even when it’s a horrific situation like the Todd Bertuzzi cheap shot on Steve Moore in the early 2000s, I didn’t think he should have faced charges (I do think it’s a travesty that Bertuzzi is still in the NHL. I might be shortsighted here, but how will Senate hearings solve anything?

While Congress could say their hearings into steroids in baseball, Jose Canseco may take more credit for it. They could legitimately take some credit for the Mitchell Report.

But there is a legitimate question into whether the federal government needs to get involved in the bounty program. From what the NFL has said, it was a program run by the coaches for the players. No outside people/businesses were involved. Were it close to what Pete Rose did, then yes, get the feds involved. Right now, it’s not even close to Pete Rose.

If I’m NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, I ask Senator Durbin during the hearing, “When was the last time this body passed a budget?” It’s been only three years right?



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