GOP Rep. Jeff Duncan Moves to Strip MLB of Antitrust Exception

CLEVELAND, OHIO - JULY 09: Gleyber Torres #25 of the New York Yankees and Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox during the 2019 MLB All-Star Game at Progressive Field on July 09, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) announced Friday that he and his staff had begun drafting legislation to strip Major League Baseball (MLB) of its antitrust exception after the organization moved its All-Star Game out of Atlanta in response to a recently passed voting reform law in Georgia.

“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 wrote in a tweet.

Duncan also noted voter ID requirements have received “overwhelming” support and that organizations should in no way abuse power to “oppose secure elections.”

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.

MLB issued a statement announcing the move to pull the All-Star Game out of Atlanta, saying that “Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box.”

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said:

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.

As noted by Ball Park Digest:

…the “antitrust exemption, first granted by an appeals court in 1922 and then unanimously affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court, holds that MLB is exempt from the Sherman Antitrust Act because it was a state-centric business and not subject to federal commerce laws.” While the Supreme Court has argued that the exemption still stands, Congress can overturn it.

The MLB has not yet announced where this year’s All-Star Game will occur.

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