Lawmakers looking to revoke MLB's antitrust exception
U.S. Rep Jeff Duncan said on Twitter that he asked his staff to begin working on legislation that would look into MLB’s antitrust status. Ken Ruinard / staff, Ken Ruinard via Imagn Content Services, LLC

A South Carolina congressman is planning to try to remove MLB’s antitrust status following the league’s All-Star Game announcement.

MLB announced on Friday that it was moving the 2021 All-Star Game out of Atlanta. The move is intended to punish the state of Georgia, which recently signed SB202 into law (full text of the bill here). The “election integrity” bill is designed to improve the voting and election process following issues that were made evident during the 2020 election. There are pro-voting aspects of the bill, but activist groups have taken issue with other parts of the bill.

Jeff Duncan (R-SC), a U.S. House of Representatives member, said on Twitter that he asked his staff to begin working on legislation that would look into MLB’s antitrust status.

Other congressmen got involved.

U.S. House of Representatives member Chip Roy (R-TX) said he would co-sponsor Duncan’s bill:

U.S. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) questioned why MLB still has antitrust immunity:

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), a former U.S. presidential candidate, also was critical of MLB over the move:

MLB received exemption from the Sherman Antitrust Act following a Supreme Court ruling in 1922. The court was ruling in a case where the Baltimore team in the Federal League sued the National League (which later merged with the American League to form MLB). The Baltimore Federal Baseball Club alleged that the National League conspired with other Federal Baseball Club team owners to put the Federal League out of business. Other Federal League owners received sweet deals from the National League, but the Baltimore owners did not, leading to the lawsuit.

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously in the National League’s favor, saying that baseball was a game managed by states and not a big business that involved federal interstate commerce. The subject has come up in other legal cases over the years, but the 1922 precedent has remained.

This article first appeared on Larry Brown Sports and was syndicated with permission.

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