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Sen. Cruz: If the MLB Plays Partisan Games, They Won’t get Exemptions from Washington

Announces legislation to eliminate Major League Baseball’s federal antitrust protection

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) today announced legislation to remove Major League Baseball's (MLB) federal antitrust protection in response to their hyper-partisan decision to move the 2021 MLB All-Star game and draft out of Atlanta, Georgia. Sen. Cruz's full opening remarks are below.

"This last month has seen a significant and indeed a dramatic change in our country, and not a change for the good. This past month, we have seen the rise of the ‘woke' corporation. We have seen the rise of Big Business in forcing a ‘woke' standard. It's always been the case that Big Business wants to get in bed with big government. It's always been the case that Big Business seeks handouts, subsidies, seeks special benefits at the expense of the little guy, at the expense of the small business.

"But in the past month, these corporations have decided to become the political enforcer for Democrats in Washington. They've made the decision to get in bed even at the price of spreading disinformation. What prompted this legislation being introduced was Major League Baseball's decision to pull the All-Star game out of Atlanta, Georgia. It did so based on a pile of lies. It did so based on an assertion that legislation the Georgia legislature took up to protect voter integrity somehow disenfranchised Georgia voters. That is demonstrably false. The legislation Georgia passed expanded early voting in Georgia. It also required ID to vote.

"I would note Major League Baseball - if you go to a game right now and pick up your tickets at the will-call ticket booth, they'll ask you for ID. So Major League Baseball understands the value of ID, and they apparently don't think they're being bigoted, racist when they ask you for a driver's license to pick up your tickets. But they decided to play politics with voting and elections in Georgia.

"Joe Biden similarly spread partisan lies about the Georgia law, so much so that The Washington Post - hardly a right-wing outlet - The Washington Post predictably leans left, predictably leans Democratic. The Washington Post fact-checked Joe Biden on the Georgia law and gave him four Pinocchio's, their worst rating, for spreading partisan lies about it. Major League Baseball's decision is indefensible on the merits. They made a decision to pull the All-Star game out of a city that has fifty one percent African-American and move it to Denver, a city that is nine percent African-American.

"I would note also that the new Georgia law gives Georgia voters two more days of early voting than Denver allows. This was not about voting. This was about virtue signaling, and this was about punishment. Major League Baseball made the decision that the more than half of its fans who happen to be Republicans are now disfavored, and that voter fraud is not a concern legislatures should focus on. That decision was harmful. It's going to hurt baseball. But it also underscores that there's no reason Major League Baseball should enjoy special subsidies, corporate welfare that no one else gets. As Mike Lee explained, Major League Baseball has had an exemption from the antitrust laws for nearly 100 years. It was made up by the U.S. Supreme Court. It's been in effect nearly 100 years. The other major sports leagues don't enjoy that exception. The NFL doesn't have that exception. The NBA doesn't have that exception. Somehow those sports leagues manage to do just fine, but baseball gets this very special carve out of corporate welfare from Washington. They don't have to play by the same rules everybody else does, and we're standing here today to say Major League Baseball should have to play by the same rules.

"If they're going to play partisan enforcer, they shouldn't expect to see special goodies from Washington when they are dishonestly acting to favor one party against the other, and doing so in a way that is hurting thousands of small businesses in the city of Atlanta, many of which are owned by African-Americans - thousands of African-American workers in the city of Atlanta who were hurt by Major League Baseball's ‘woke' dishonest decision that we're standing against."