Bill Ending Antitrust Exemptions for Pro Sports Leagues Introduced

A bill to end the current permanent antitrust exemptions of the four major professional sports leagues was introduced by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. on December 2.

Titled the Sustained Promotion of Responsibility in Team Sports Act (SPORTS), the bill would remove permanent antitrust exemptions for NFL, MLB, NHL, and NBA one year from the bill’s enactment and replace it with a reauthorization process every five years.  According to the SPORTS Act, ninety-five days before ending the exemption, Congress would have an up-down vote on a five-year reauthorization.  To assist Congress in making the decision, a special commission will report about the leagues’ behavior in treating their employees and addressing inappropriate conduct by their employees and owners so that  Congress can determine whether their behavior have harmed or served the public interest.

Having denounced the NFL for its failure to address domestic violence, Sen. Blumenthal said, “Sun-setting the antitrust exemption helps assure accountability for stronger sanctions against domestic violence and aid to organizations that assist survivors of domestic violence.”  He said, “The country affords these teams their special status because of their special role in American culture, but that doesn’t give them the right to abuse this privilege. The era of the blank check for sports leagues must end.”

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