GOP’s Rep. Duncan, Sen. Lee File Legislation to End MLB’s Antitrust Exemption

Players and coaches from the Toronto Blue Jays and the New York Yankees line up along the base paths during the singing of the National Anthem at the start of a major league baseball game on opening day at Yankee Stadium, Thursday, April 1, 2021, in New York. The announced …
AP Photo/Kathy Willens

Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) filed legislation on Wednesday to strip Major League Baseball (MLB) of its immunity from antitrust law after commissioner Rob Manfred’s decision to remove the All-Star Game from Atlanta over a new election integrity law.

“Major League Baseball has enjoyed constitutionally questionable antitrust protections for a century, yet it has decided to act in a partisan manner by punishing the state of Georgia for completely reasonable voter integrity and election security legislation,” Duncan said in a statement Wednesday, adding:

Commissioner Manfred’s decision was ill-advised and will cost Atlanta small businesses, many of which are minority-owned, around $100M in economic activity. Furthermore, public polling has consistently shown overwhelming bipartisan support for voter ID laws, which are the cornerstone of the Georgia elections reform bill.

Duncan once again urged the MLB to reverse its decision and return the All-Star Game to Atlanta.

“This is just the latest in a wave of corporate decisions to ‘Go Woke,'” Duncan said. “If companies or organizations want to undermine efforts to ensure the integrity of our elections process, then they invite increased scrutiny of their business practices.”

“I urge Major League Baseball to reconsider this short-sighted decision, and I urge my colleagues to stand strong against the onslaught of the Woke Left on daily American life,” Duncan concluded.

Lee, who serves as the ranking member of the Antitrust Subcommittee, is offering the bill in the Senate. Lee is accompanied by original co-sponsors including Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). Lee said:

Consumers benefit when businesses compete, and baseball is no different. In fact, a professional sports league should understand best of all the benefits of competition. Instead, Major League Baseball has used its judicially fabricated antitrust immunity to suppress wages and divide up markets for decades—conduct that is plainly illegal, and sometimes criminal, in any other industry.

“We should have done this decades ago, but when billion-dollar businesses start engaging in political extortion it becomes even more pressing to end their special treatment,” Lee added.

As previously reported by Breitbart News, MLB’s antitrust immunity emanates from a Supreme Court decision in 1922, ruling the MLB is a sport and not a business. The NFL, NBA, and NHL do not enjoy the same privilege.

“The fact that Major League Baseball would get together and try to punish a state because the elected representatives of that state and the elected governor of that state settled on a law to preserve election integrity is unbelievable,” Hawley said of the recent decision by MLB.

In the House of Representatives, the 29 original cosponsors include: Jim Jordan (OH), Ralph Norman (SC), William Timmons (SC), Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA), Austin Scott (GA), Jody Hice (GA), Buddy Carter (GA), Rick Allen (GA), Andrew Clyde (GA), Chip Roy (TX), Louie Gohmert (TX), Randy Weber (TX), Brian Babin (TX), Pete Sessions (TX), Lance Gooden (TX), Paul Gosar (AZ), Andy Biggs (AZ), Jerry Carl (AL), Barry Moore (AL), Dan Bishop (NC), Yvette Herrell (NM), Greg Steube (FL), Mary Miller (IL), Claudia Tenney (NY), Scott Perry (PA), Rick Crawford (AR), Lauren Boebert (CO), Burgess Owens (UT), and Bob Good (VA).

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