GOVERNMENT

Sen. Mike Lee and colleagues call for MLB to lose antitrust exemption

Apr 14, 2021, 1:06 PM
After pulling their All-Star Game from Atlanta in protest of new Georgia voting laws, Senator Mike ...
After pulling their All-Star Game from Atlanta in protest of new Georgia voting laws, Senator Mike Lee says Major League Baseball deserves to lose any special immunity from antitrust laws. (PHOTO: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
(PHOTO: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — After pulling their All-Star Game from Atlanta in protest of new Georgia voting laws, Utah Senator Mike Lee thinks Major League Baseball–MLB deserves to lose their special immunity from antitrust laws.

Antitrust exemption: Fair or foul?

Speaking yesterday, the GOP Senator said Major League Baseball has enjoyed a lack of competition for 99 years due to a judicial mistake.

“It’s a judicial mistake we can correct and we intend to do so,” he explained at a press conference on Capitol Hill.

Lee was speaking alongside Republican colleagues Senator Ted Cruz, of Texas, and Josh Hawley, of Missouri. The trio of lawmakers are announcing plans to introduce new legislation aimed at taking away baseball’s antitrust exemption.

“There’s no reason that Major League Baseball should be treated any differently than any other sports leagues in America,” said Lee.

Moving out of Atlanta

The comments come after MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred made the decision to move the All-Star events and its player draft from Atlanta after holding discussions with individual players and the Players Alliance. Manfred says both entities expressed serious concerns about new Georgia voting laws.

In addition to baseball, major corporations like Delta Airlines and Coca-Cola Co. have also condemned the new Georgia law.

Senator Lee says he still doesn’t know if baseball made the decision to move the All-Star Game as a favor to the Democratic Party or to promote their voting reform proposal.

“My point is there’s a lot of possibilities as to what subjectively motivated them,” explained Lee. “But they did make this decision, and it’s a decision you wouldn’t see from an entity that wasn’t insulated from market competition by our antitrust law. That’s why it’s a problem.”

He adds that Congress never acted on the exemption for baseball and lawmakers would have the ability to undo Supreme Court precedent through legislation.

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Sen. Mike Lee and colleagues call for MLB to lose antitrust exemption