Sens. Cruz, Hawley, and Lee Propose Legislation to Nullify MLB’s Antitrust Exemption

By Samuel Allegri
Samuel Allegri
Samuel Allegri
April 13, 2021 Updated: April 13, 2021

Three GOP senators announced that they are sponsoring a bill that aims to abolish Major League Baseball’s (MLB) unique antitrust exemption.

Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), and Mike Lee (R-Utah) are moving forward with the measure as a response to the MLB’s decision to move their All-Star Game out of Georgia in protest to the voting reform bill that was signed into law by Republican Governor Brian Kemp.

The voter reforms require photo ID for absentee voting, mandatory dropbox security, and expands early voting dates, among other measures.

“If they’re gonna play partisan enforcer, they shouldn’t expect to see special goodies from Washington when they are dishonestly acting to favor one party against the other,” Cruz told reporters on April 13.

Cruz explained that MLB has special subsidies and enjoys a monopoly of the sports league, unlike other major leagues.

The MLB’s anti-trust exemption restricts other leagues from emerging and competing with them and is the only league that benefits from a 1922 Supreme Court decision that they are treated as a sport rather than a business.

“This was not about voting. This was about virtue signaling and this was about punishment,” said Cruz. “Major League Baseball made the decision that the more than half of its fans who happen to be Republicans are now disfavored, and that voting voter fraud is not a concern legislature should focus on.”

“Major League Baseball is behaving with arrogance,” said Cruz. “It’s the arrogance of a monopolist, it’s the arrogance that they’re counting on the fact that their fans have nowhere to go,” he added.

“I’m a big Houston Astros fan. I’m happy to cheer on the Rangers as well, but I love my Astros. There are a lot of baseball fans I know of who are pissed off at this move, but at the same time don’t necessarily want to turn off the TV and stop watching sports. The monopoly power they have, they’re counting on the fact that their customers are stuck,” he added.

“Monopolies and liberty are not compatible,” Hawley said in a Tucker Carlson Tonight appearance.

“No corporation should be so big or so powerful that it can control the political process, that it can override the will of the voters.”

The proposed legislation by the GOP senators could receive support from the Democrats.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called for a re-evaluation of the MLB’s anti-trust exemption in February over its decision to eliminate a minor-league team in Vermont.

MLB Commissioner Robert D. Manfred Jr. announced earlier this month that the baseball league is moving its all-star game from Georgia.

“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. 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.”

He went on to say that the MLB “fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box.”

President Joe Biden said on March 31 that he would support the MLB moving the All-star game from Atlanta in response to the election reform legislation.

“I think that today’s professional athletes are acting incredibly responsibly. I would strongly support them doing that,” Biden said. “People look to them, they’re leaders. Look at what’s happened with the NBA as well. Look at what’s happened across the board. The people who’ve been victimized the most are the people who are the leaders in these various sports and it’s just not right.”