Five Republican Senators tabled a bill Wednesday to strip Major League Baseball’s immunity from antitrust laws, saying legal protections were not deserved after the league removed their Georgia All-Star game to play against Protest law that might make it harder to vote.
Republican Senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Josh Hawley, Marsha Blackburn and Mike Lee introduced the bill to the Senate, Lee’s office said in a statement. A version of the bill was also introduced in the House of Representatives by a group of Republican lawmakers.
“If Major League Baseball is acting dishonestly and spreading lies about Georgia’s suffrage law to favor one party over the other, they shouldn’t expect to continue receiving special benefits from Congress,” Cruz said in a statement that said, that MLB enjoys a special exemption from antitrust law that other professional sports leagues do not.
MLB was not immediately available for comment.
MLB said earlier this month it would reschedule its Georgia All-Star game to protest the state’s new election restrictions.
Major League Baseball received an exception to the Sherman Antitrust Act based on a 1922 ruling by the US Supreme Court that found professional baseball is not an interstate trade, according to a 2019 article in the Wake Forest Law Review . The MLB’s exception has protected the league in its exclusive contracts for broadcasting home team games on local cable television networks, the article says.
However, after a 1998 bill passed by Congress, the Curt Flood Act, MLB lost its antitrust exemption on labor issues.
Other professional sports leagues enjoy more limited antitrust exemptions.
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