Republican senators introduced legislation Wednesday to revoke antitrust protections for Major League Baseball after the sports league launched a boycott of Georgia over lawmakers’ passage of modest electoral reforms.
The “Competition in Professional Baseball Act,” proposed by Sens. John Hawley of Missouri, Mike Lee of Utah, Ted Cruz of Texas, Marco Rubio of Florida, and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee strikes the MLB’s exemptions to existing U.S. antitrust laws.
“MLB and woke mega-corporations have been coddled by government for too long,” Hawley said in a statement. “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.”
The MLB announced earlier this month the league would be moving its lucrative summer All-Star Game worth $100 million in local revenue from majority-black Atlanta to Denver, where less than 10 percent of residents are black. They pulled out the state after Georgia Republicans passed an elections law decried by Democrats and lied about in the corporate press as a 21st-century version of Jim Crow.
“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,” Hawley added. “They must be held to the same standard as the rest of American business.”
Cruz derided the league’s hypocrisy over boycotting Georgia for its new law that now requires proof of ID for access to the ballot box while the MLB mandates ID for picking up game tickets.
“For nearly a century, Major League Baseball has enjoyed a special exemption from antitrust laws that other professional sports leagues do not,” Cruz said in a statement Wednesday. “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… They shouldn’t expect to continue to receive special benefits from Congress.”
South Carolina Republican Rep. Jeff Duncan introduced companion legislation in the House with more than 20 cosponsors.
The decision to rip Atlanta of the baseball game also provoked pushback from the Job Creators Network (JCN), an organization which represents more than one million small businesses in Georgia.
“For small businesses that have disproportionately suffered through government-imposed pandemic lockdowns over the past year, the financial loss is a punch to the gut and will have an outsized impact on minority-owned businesses,” the group’s President Alfredo Ortiz wrote to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred last week.