A PYMNTS Company

Bernie Sanders Introduces Bill To Change MLB Antitrust Exception

 |  March 23, 2022

Vermont senator Bernie Sanders announced legislation Tuesday to challenge Major League Baseball’s antitrust exemption, reported The Atlantic.

Sanders, who made an appearance on HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, explained why he established the “Save American Baseball Act” with efforts to prevent—in the words of Illinois senator Dick Durbin—a lawful monopoly. 

“I think the time is now when these billionaires should start paying attention to the needs of the fans and the people of this country, rather than just their bottom line,” Sanders said.

When the MLB owners ended the 99-day lockout nearly two weeks ago, Bernie Sanders was deliberate in fighting the league’s antitrust exemption. The former presidential candidate issued a statement on March 10, indicating he would push for legislation to end the exemption as well as saying the owners were more focused on “increasing their wealth and profits that strengthening the nation’s pastime.”

On May 29, 1922, the Supreme Court ruled that MLB’s business didn’t meet the criteria of “interstate commerce.” As a result, the court decided that MLB wasn’t beholden to the Sherman Act, which forbids businesses from engaging in practices that suppress competition.

MLB’s antitrust exemption has been challenged in court on multiple occasions, including as recently as three months ago when four former minor-league affiliates filed a lawsuit in Manhattan federal district court against minor-league reorganization that specifically called out the antitrust exemption.

Bernie Sanders signaled his intentions when he issued a statement on the end of the lockout on March 10.

“It would be wrong for Congress to simply celebrate today’s agreement and move on. We must prevent the greed of baseball’s oligarchs from destroying the game. The best way to do that is to end Major League Baseball’s antitrust exemption and I will be introducing legislation to do just that.”

Want more news? Subscribe to CPI’s free daily newsletter for more headlines and updates on antitrust developments around the world.