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FTC Goes Against the NFL

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The Federal Trade Commission filed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court yesterday seeking to vacate a ruling from a lower court that would make the NFL exempt from antitrust laws.

The FTC supported the arguments of American Needle Inc., which sued the NFL on antitrust grounds after the league struck an exclusive deal with Reebok to be the official jersey manufacturer of the league.

The FTC argues that the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals was wrong to view the NFL as a “single entity” under Section 1 of the Sherman Act. Instead, the FTC argues, the NFL should be viewed as a collective of  competing teams and should not be exempt from antitrust law.

The Supreme Court is expected to take up the case later this session. What’s interesting is that both the NFL and American Needle pushed for the Supreme Court to review the case. American Needle wanted the review because it felt the lower court’s decision was wrong. The NFL wanted the review because a ruling in their favor would essentially give the league its antitrust exemption.

 

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