Washington, DC – Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, the assistant majority leader, called off his proposed hearing into bounty programs in the NFL, this after meeting with commissioner Roger Goodell Wednesday.
The meeting with Durbin came after Goodell levied harsh penalties against the New Orleans Saints and some of their players for alleged participation in a bounty program.
Durbin was told by Goodell that the league will implement several reforms to deter bounty programs. That includes the inclusion of a new "bounties section" in the NFL players handbook. Each NFL player receiving the handbook is required to acknowledge receipt.
"Bounties are not a part of football. We don't believe they should be a part of sports," Goodell said. "We have taken very strong action to make sure they are not a part of sports moving forward."
Also, posters will be hung in locker rooms with information about an anonymous hotline to encourage players to report bounty-related issues.
"The NFL has taken the issue of bounties in professional football seriously and has been open and willing to take additional steps to protect player safety and football's integrity," Durbin said. "Because of that willingness to address the issue, and due to the reforms the league is announcing after meeting with me today, I will withhold congressional hearings on this matter and continue to work with the league and its players to ensure the league's rules are sufficient and that nothing like these bounty programs ever happens again."
The NFL Players Association released a statement asking for a hearing on player health and safety.
"We thank the senator for his interest on these important issues. Given this keen interest, the players hope and expect that the commissioner and the senator will commit to a hearing on health and safety in the NFL in the near future," the statement said.