The city of St. Louis is still bitter over watching their beloved Rams move to Los Angeles prior to this past season. We have seen just how much ire the relocation has drawn in the Gateway to the West.
Now, it looks like officials in St. Louis are willing to take on the NFL and its 32 teams over the move.
In a lawsuit filed by the city of St. Louis in court, plaintiffs claim that the NFL and each of its teams illegally approved the relocation of the Rams to Los Angeles in January of 2016.
It cites antitrust precedent and league bylaws that were enacted after multiple relocations back in 1984 as the reasoning for the lawsuit.
In essence, plaintiffs in this case claim that the NFL and its 32 teams did not act in good faith during the entire process of relocation. The lawsuit itself has been served to each of the teams at their headquarters, as noted in the 52-page court filing that names each organization as a defendant.
Unfortunately for the city of St. Louis, antitrust laws differ between states. If it had filed the lawsuit against the NFL in Missouri, this wouldn’t be as convoluted as it is. Instead, it seems that the city is attempting to make a broad point that the league isn’t above the rule of law.
That’s going to be a hard precedent for courts to set, especially given non-activist courts tend to defer to individual states when it comes to matters like these.
In fact, the pure definition of the United States’ antitrust law pretty much sums this up perfectly.
“United States antitrust law is a collection of federal and state government laws that regulates the conduct and organization of business corporations, generally to promote fair competition for the benefit of consumer”
Even if the court was to somehow use the Sherman Act of 1890 (federal regulations for antitrust laws), it would then likely be pushed back to the individual states for clarification.
As it stands, the premise here is a bit absurd. In reality, the history of this law has been meant to dissuade businesses and corporations from engaging in anti-competitive practices. How the plaintiffs can argue that the Rams’ relocation represents that is not yet known.
In any event, this will be an interesting case to watch. That’s only magnified with both San Diego and Oakland seeing their teams garner approval for relocation over the past few months. Leaders in those cities will surely be keeping an eye on this.