13 January 2007
Contributing to the fog
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has introduced something she calls the "Football Fairness Act of 2007", S. 249, which would grant professional football a limited exemption to the antitrust laws: just enough of one to permit NFL owners to oppose the move of one of their teams, such as the San Francisco 49ers, who by sheerest coincidence are seeking a new stadium in Santa Clara.
This, of course, assumes that NFL owners, thus empowered, would vote to block any movement by the 49ers, an assumption which I think is unwarranted. This take by SFist seems most reasonable:
[H]ere's the thing everybody seems to like this deal. The NFL does because it gives them more power. And the 49ers like it too because they have no problems calling San Francisco's bluff on this one. Probably with good reason. Since the NFL shares all their revenue, it makes sense that the NFL would let the Niners go off to Santa Clara if the Niners could bring in more money. Also, since nobody knows Bay Area geography, the rest of the NFL doesn't see much difference between the two places as it's only thirty-eight miles away. According to NFL rule, a franchise move is defined as a move of seventy-five miles. And since the 49ers would need the NFL's permission to move anyways because they want the NFL's help in building the stadium, this isn't going to change much.
In other words, Feinstein is basically, as my father used to say, "blowing off head steam."
I'm waiting to see if anyone from Washington state introduces a similar bill to insure "fairness" for basketball teams.
Update, 3:30 pm: Brian J. Noggle sees down this slippery slope.Posted at 1:24 PM to Political Science Fiction