Senator Ted Cruz demanded an end Tuesday, April 13, to a century old antitrust exemption for professional baseball, as punishment for a politically “woke” decision to pull its All-Star Game out of Georgia over new voter restrictions, reported Dallas Morning News.
“They shouldn’t expect to see special goodies from Washington when they are dishonestly acting to favor one party against the other,” he said, denouncing “the rise of the ‘woke’ corporation” that have been siding with Democrats in the tussle over voting rights that erupted since the contested presidential election.
Major League Baseball is the only sports league not subject to federal rules against monopoly behavior, a legal quirk that stems from a 1922 Supreme Court ruling that held, through somewhat tortured logic, that the league didn’t engage in interstate commerce because each game is played in one city at a time.
Over the next 99 years, lawmakers have mounted at least a half-dozen efforts to overturn that exemption. The latest effort, from Cruz and fellow Republican Senators Mike Lee of Utah and Josh Hawley of Missouri, is also part of a running feud between conservatives and team owners in several sports.
During his 2018 reelection bid, Cruz railed against football teams that allowed players to take a knee during the National Anthem, a gesture meant to draw attention to police brutality and racism. He has also attacked Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and other basketball team owners, accusing them of caving to pressure from China to avoid criticism of anti-democracy crackdowns.
Lee accused MLB of arrogance emboldened by the unusual legal status.
“It’s a decision you wouldn’t see from an entity that wasn’t insulated from market competition by our antitrust laws,” he said.
But MLB is hardly the only business to express dismay over the GOP-led push to tighten ballot access in recent months, though it’s the only one not subject to federal anti-monopoly law.