Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT) on Friday echoed a call by Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) to strip Major League Baseball of antitrust exemptions that grants it immunity from federal anti-monopoly laws.
The Republican lawmakers are pushing to strip the MLB of its special legal protections in light of the league’s announcement it was moving its July all-star game and draft out of Atlanta in protest of Georgia’s new election reforms signed into law in March.
“In light of @MLB’s stance to undermine election integrity laws, I have instructed my staff to begin drafting legislation to remove Major League Baseball’s federal antitrust exception,” Duncan said in a tweet Friday afternoon. “An overwhelming bipartisan majority of Americans support requiring an ID to vote, and any organization that abuses its power to oppose secure elections deserves increased scrutiny under the law.”
An overwhelming bipartisan majority of Americans support requiring an ID to vote, and any organization that abuses its power to oppose secure elections deserves increased scrutiny under the law.
— Rep. Jeff Duncan (@RepJeffDuncan) April 2, 2021
Lee soon followed, saying that no corporation should possess the legal immunities that the MLB has. Other sports leagues such as the National Football League and National Basketball Association do not enjoy the same antitrust immunity as the MLB, which gained its special protections from a 1922 Supreme Court decision.
“Why does @MLB still have antitrust immunity? It’s time for the federal government to stop granting special privileges to specific, favored corporations — especially those that punish their political opponents,” Lee said.
Cruz added: EXACTLY right. And @SenMikeLee & I will be working hard to END MLB’s antitrust immunity. #GowokeGobroke”
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) April 2, 2021
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred announced on Friday that the league was moving its all-star game and its draft out of Georgia over the state’s new election reforms. Manfred’s decision came after public pressure from President Joe Biden to move the all-star game while making false claims about the new election laws and likening them to “Jim Crow on steroids.”
“Over the last week, we have engaged in thoughtful conversations with Clubs, former and current players, the Players Association, and The Players Alliance, among others, to listen to their views,” Manfred said. “I have decided that the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is by relocating this year’s All-Star Game and MLB Draft.”
Biden slammed the new election reforms in an interview with ESPN on Wednesday while praising athletes for using their sports to push political agendas.
“I think today’s professional athletes are acting incredibly responsibly. I would strongly support them [moving the all-star game out of Atlanta],” Biden said. “People look to them. They’re leaders.”
“Look at what’s happened with the NBA, as well. Look what’s happened across the board. The very people who are victimized the most are the people who are the leaders in these various sports, and it’s just not right,” he continued. “This is Jim Crow on steroids what they’re doing in Georgia and 40 other states.”