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COURT RULING ON NBA TOUTED BY BASEBALL'S OWNERSHIP
Published January 25, 1995
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in New York that antitrust laws cannot be used to stop "NBA owners or other employers from imposing work rules while a collective bargaining relationship exists." The ruling was praised by MLB's leadership as a clear sign that the removal of the league's antitrust exemption would have no effect on their ability to impose a salary cap. The MLBPA has "insisted" that team owners were able to implement their salary cap because of the exemption. The 2nd circuit agreed with the findings of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Powell vs. NFL. While other circuit courts are not bound by the decision, "the ruling could set a precedent and could force the [MLBPA] to decertify if players want to mount an antitrust challenge" (I.J. Rosenberg, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 1/25). The court ruled that it never thought "anyone would argue that antitrust laws could be used 'to subvert fundamental principles of our federal labor policy'" (Parascandola & Kerber, N.Y. POST, 1/25). REACTIONS FROM MLB AND NBA: Braves/Hawks President Stan Kasten was "ecstatic": "It makes it clear how foolish it is for the [MLBPA] to continue to press the case in Congress and the courts. Even if we didn't have an exemption, it wouldn't matter" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 1/25). Acting MLB Commissioner Bud Selig: "The clubs are hopeful that the union will now abandon its activities in Congress and return to the bargaining table" (MLB). Officials from the NBPA said the decision might be appealed to the full 2nd Circuit. NBA Commissioner David Stern "hailed" the decision (N.Y. TIMES, 1/25). The decision means the NBA and the NBPA "must now resolve their differences in collective bargaining" (N.Y. POST, 1/25).