The American spirit and values are represented by its flag and national anthem. Both are symbols of our Constitution, our way of life, and our hard-won freedoms. Showing disrespect for the flag and refusing to stand for our national anthem is un-American, a rejection of what America stands for. It is an insult to our citizens and members of our military who have placed their lives in jeopardy to protect our way of life.
Theodor Roosevelt said, "Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag..." So the question is: should athletes who disrespect the national anthem by kneeling be considered patriotic Americans, and if not, what are they? Subversives? Insurrectionists? Anarchists? These are questions for the reader to decide.
Sports leagues are exempt from anti-trust law, not by an act of Congress, but by edict of the Supreme Court and lesser courts. The Sherman Antitrust Act (1890) established regulation of monopolies and was amended by Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914.
In a 1922 case, Federal Baseball Club v. National League the US Supreme Court ruled that Major League Baseball was not "interstate commerce" and thus was not subject to federal antitrust law.
Most do not know that major sports leagues enjoy tax-exempt status, another exemption worth billions, in addition to being granted monopolistic power. For example, the NFL is technically classified as a 501(c)6 organization. Section 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code provides for the exemption of business leagues, chambers of commerce, real estate boards, boards of trade and professional football leagues, which are not organized for profit and no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual.
The argument that the anti-trust exemption allowing major sports leagues to become monopolies, enjoyed by the football, baseball, basketball and hockey major leagues is necessary is: Without an anti-trust exemption, sports leagues would not be able to speak on behalf of all their teams when it comes to negotiating media deals. But, like all good things, some have abused the privilege.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) submitted a bill in 2014 to end the blank check anti-trust exemption for major sports leagues and instead make them seek a renewal every five years.
The same month Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), introduced a similar bill. The author can find no record of the bills being considered for passage. Both bills were designed to force the league to change its policy relative to player behavior and did not address the current issue of un-American actions by NFL players and staff—the politicizing of major sports.
By allowing players to politicize major sports, leagues have strayed too far from their charter and court granted exemptions. Congressional action is required. The players, staffs, and owners' actions are insulting American citizens, military, and veterans. Major sports leagues' monopoly-exempt status is worth more billions of dollars, which in turn sets salaries and contract values, thus amending the Clayton Antitrust Act. It is therefore logical for Congress to correct this unpatriotic behavior. The American public has had enough and wants action. The author suggests Congress do the following.
Amend Section 6 of the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914 to establish an anti-trust exemption for United States major sports leagues contingent upon: (i) the sports league upholding American traditions and customs, specifically that its members, athletes, and employees stand for the national anthem and presentation of the American flag; and (ii) the national colors will be presented and the national anthem will be played at the beginning of all sporting events covered by this exemption.
The Federal Trade Commission is responsible for enforcement and will publish regulations and necessary the application for sports leagues to request tax-exempt status no later than six months after the effective date of this act.
A sports league seeking protection under this exemption shall submit its application with required proof of compliance to The Federal Trade Commission. The Federal Trade Commission shall certify compliance of each applicant within one year of receipt of a sports league's application, and recertify the exemption every five years thereafter. If a sports league's initial application is rejected or its subsequent certification fails to meet requirements of this Act, said league shall be placed on probation for six months, and if the deficiency is not corrected the league's exemption will be revoked. Sports leagues currently operating under court-approved exemptions are granted three months to prepare their exemption applications after The Federal Trade Commission regulations are published. The Federal Trade Commission is authorized to collect fees necessary to cover expenses incurred in compliance with this exemption.
Citizen complaints of violations of the exemption shall be immediately investigated by The Federal Trade Commission or referred to the Justice Department for action. Fines may be levied as provided for in the Act.