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ANTI-EXEMPTION EDITORIALS A PRELUDE TO THURSDAY'S HEARINGS
Published September 19, 1994
With House hearings on baseball's anti-trust exemption set for Thursday, more editorialists are using the issue as a way to sound their disapproval over the cancellation of the season, playoff and World Series. TAKING EXEMPTION TO THE RULE: BUSINESS WEEK: "With million-dolar salaries and billion-dollar television deals, the idea that baseball is not a business is simply ludicrous. ... With the 1994 season called on account of greed, the message is clear: Yank the antitrust exemption and let baseball get back to its business -- entertaining the fans" (BUSINESS WEEK, 9/26). The PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: "Baseball deserves no special protection from the consequences of its stupidity arrogance and greed" (INQUIRER, 9/18). The ATLANTA CONSTITUTION: "The American public is not helpless in this mess. Through their elected representatives, they have the ability to withdraw the anti-trust exemption that allows the baseball owners to act as they have" (CONSTITUTION, 9/18). USA TODAY: "Without the antitrust exemption, there would be no baseball strike. If Congress repeals the exemption, the strike will end. ... No logical or legal reason exists why 28 businesses should enjoy antitrust immunity" (USA TODAY, 9/19). WHAT TO EXPECT THIS WEEK: Rep. Jim Bunning (R-KY), a former player, has intorduced a bill co-sponsored by Reps. Major Owens (D-NY) and Mike Synar (D-OK) that would give the players "the right to seek an injunction under anti-trust laws if owners were to unilaterally impose working conditions." The hearings, to be held before the House Judiciary Commitee, will include testimony from Acting Commissioner Bud Selig, MLBPA Exec Dir Don Fehr, Royals Player Rep David Cone, and possibly others. While House Judiciary Committee Chair Jack Brooks (D-TX) hasn't taken a position, he is considered an exemption foe (Colin Miner, N.Y. POST, 9/17). Fehr: "There had been a belief in Washington that things will work out, that the owners can't be that arrogant. Now that they know they were wrong, maybe there will be action" (N.Y. POST, 9/19). David Rosenbuam writes, "Chances are slight that generations of inertia can be overcome in the month remaining in this session of Congress" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/18). In BUSINESS WEEK, Aaron Bernstein: "Although the owners have won this battle in the past, public anger over another lost season could stiffen congressional attitudes" (BUSINESS WEEK, 9/26 issue).