COURT RULING ON NBA TOUTED BY BASEBALL'S OWNERSHIP
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).