Antitrust Policy and Professional Sports
From an early age, I've always had an immense interest in the law, particularly the profession of an attorney. From an even earlier age, I've been an avid fan and participant of the sporting world. While doing my externship this summer at Lewis, Reed, and Allen, P .C., a law firm in downtown Kalamazoo, MI, I found a connection between my two passions-antitrust law, especially as it relates to labor issues in the professional sports industry. Unquestionably, the business of professional sports is one of the largest and fastest growing industries in the United States, and similar to any other industry, it is subject to the scrutiny of the law, most notably antitrust law as it seeks to promote commerce and prevent monopolistic behavior by big business in general. The Sherman Act, the Clayton Act, and the Norris-LaGuardia Act are all specific examples of federal laws designed to prevent anti-competitive behavior, and such acts are effective in the sports business. In this paper, I will provide a detailed study of how labor issues have significantly affected sports and how courts have made use of antitrust policies to solve the resulting dilemmas, particularly those involving negotiations between players associations and owners. A look at the history of the application of antitrust laws in the professional sports industry provides a good summary for one to apprec'iate the development of professional sports over time.