Senator calls hearing to examine bounties in NFL

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by Traci Neuman

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Sen. Dick Durbin is setting up a Judiciary Committee hearing about bounties in the NFL and other major sports in the wake of news that New Orleans Saints players received extra cash for hits that hurt particular opponents.

The assistant Senate majority leader, an Illinois Democrat, says he wants to examine whether federal law should make such bounty systems a crime.

Durbin's announcement Thursday comes a day after the NFL took a harsh stand on bounties, suspending Saints head coach Sean Payton for all of next season, and indefinitely banning their former defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams.

Durbin calls the Saints' bounties a "disturbing practice." He plans to ask representatives of the NFL, Major League Baseball, NBA, NHL and NCAA to testify at the hearing.

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