Statement on Signing the Curt Flood Act of 1998
Today I am pleased to have signed into law S. 53, the "Curt Flood Act of 1998." This legislation is the successful culmination of bipartisan efforts to treat employment matters with respect to Major League Baseball players under the antitrust laws in the same way such matters are treated for athletes in other professional sports.
It is especially fitting that this legislation honors a courageous baseball player and individual, the late Curt Flood, whose enormous talents on the baseball diamond were matched by his courage off the field. It was 29 years ago this month that Curt Flood refused a trade from the St. Louis Cardinals to the Philadelphia Phillies. His bold stand set in motion the events that culminate in the bill I have signed into law.
The Act appropriately limits baseball's special judicially created antitrust exemption by expressly applying the antitrust laws to certain conduct of Major League Baseball; the applicability of the antitrust laws with respect to all other conduct is unchanged. The Act in no way codifies or extends the baseball exemption and would not affect the applicability of those laws to certain matters that, it has been argued, the exemption would legitimately protect (including franchise relocation rules and the minor leagues).
The Act does not in any way limit the standing of the United States to bring an antitrust action. The antitrust laws protect the public's interest in the efficient operation of the free market system, thereby protecting consumers, and the United States has standing to sue to enjoin all violations.
It is sound policy to treat the employment matters of Major League Baseball players under the antitrust laws in the same way such matters are treated for athletes in other professional sports.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
The White House, October 27, 1998.
NOTE: S. 53, approved October 27, was assigned Public Law No. 105-297. An original was not available for verification of the content of this statement.
William J. Clinton, Statement on Signing the Curt Flood Act of 1998 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/225258