Sen. Josh Hawley, other senate Republicans, introduce bill removing MLB antitrust laws exemption

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WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 13: U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) (L) walks through the Senate Subway during a roll call vote on April 13, 2021 in Washington, DC. Senate Republicans criticized U.S. President Joe Bidens plan to remove all troops from Afghanistan by September 11, which has been delayed from its initial deadline of May 1. (Photo by Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Josh Hawley, R – Missouri, Mike Lee, R – Utah, Ted Cruz, R – Texas, Marco Rubio, R – Florida, and Marsha Blackburn, R – Tennessee, have introduced legislation that would subject Major League Baseball to antitrust laws, repealing an exemption the league has had since 1922.

The bill comes after the MLB pulled the 2021 All-Star game from Atlanta, Georgia because of new restrictive voting laws in the state.

Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box. In 2020, MLB became the first professional sports league to join the non-partisan Civic Alliance to help build a future in which everyone participates in shaping the United States. We proudly used our platform to encourage baseball fans and communities throughout our country to perform their civic duty and actively participate in the voting process. Fair access to voting continues to have our game’s unwavering support.

We will continue with our plans to celebrate the memory of Hank Aaron during this season’s All-Star festivities. In addition, MLB’s planned investments to support local communities in Atlanta as part of our All-Star Legacy Projects will move forward. We are finalizing a new host city and details about these events will be announced shortly.

Statement from MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred

“Major League Baseball asks for your ID when you pick up tickets at will-call, but they have made it clear they oppose photo ID requirements to vote,” Cruz said. “If Major League Baseball is going to act dishonestly and spread lies about Georgia’s voting rights bill to favor one party against the other, they shouldn’t expect to continue to receive special benefits from Congress.”

In 1922, a Supreme Court decision ruled that the MLB was not subject to the Sherman Act, which promotes free competition and eliminates monopolies.

“For decades, the MLB has been given a sweetheart deal by Washington politicians. But if they’d prefer to be partisan political activists instead, maybe it’s time to rethink that,” Hawley said. “With their capitulation to the left-wing Twitter mob and support for Biden’s big lie about election integrity, they’ve forfeited any right to an anti-trust exemption. They must be held to the same standard as the rest of American business.”

The Supreme Court decided that Major League Baseball did not engage in interstate trade or commerce, as games are played in the same place from start to finish.

The NBA and NFL do not have the same exemptions as the MLB does.

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