Vermont senator Bernie Sanders announced legislation Tuesday to challenge Major League Baseball’s antitrust exemption.
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, 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.”
“We must prevent the greed of baseball's oligarchs from destroying the game," Sanders wrote in a statement.
The league’s antitrust exemption has been called into question in court on several occasions with the most recent coming three months ago when four former minor league teams filed a lawsuit against the minor-league reorganization that explicitly called out the antitrust exemption.
May 29 will mark the 100th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision to provide antirust protection for the league.