Radovich v. National Football League
352 U.S. 445 (1957)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Radovich v. National Football League, 352 U.S. 445 (1957)

Radovich v. National Football League

No. 94

Argued January 17, 1957

Decided February 25, 1957

352 U.S. 445

Syllabus

Alleging that respondents conspired to monopolize and control professional football in violation of the Sherman Act, petitioner sued them under § 4 of the Clayton Act for treble damages and injunctive relief. He alleged, inter alia, that respondents schedule football games in various cities, including New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles; that part of the business from which they derive a significant portion of their gross receipts is the transmission of the games over radio and television into nearly every State of the Union; that part of the conspiracy was to destroy a competitive league by boycotting it and its players; that each team uses a standard player contract which prohibits a player from signing with another club without the consent of the club holding his contract; that these contracts are enforced by agreement of the clubs to blacklist any player violating them and to visit severe penalties on recalcitrant member clubs; that, by blacklisting petitioner, they prevented him from becoming a player-coach in an affiliated league and effectively prevented his employment in organized professional football in the United States; and that this damaged him in the sum of $35,000.

Held:

1. The rule established in Federal Baseball Club v. National League,259 U. S. 200, and Toolson v. New York Yankees,346 U. S. 356, is specifically limited to the business of organized professional baseball, and does not control this case. Pp. 352 U. S. 449-452.

(a) As long as Congress continues to acquiesce, this Court should adhere to -- but not extend -- the interpretation of the Act made in those cases. P. 352 U. S. 451.

(b) If there be error or discrimination in these rulings, the orderly way to eliminate it is by legislation, and not be court decision. P. 352 U. S. 452.

2. The volume of interstate business involved in organized professional football places it within the provisions of the Antitrust Acts. P. 352 U. S. 452.

3. The complaint states a cause of action, and petitioner is entitled to an opportunity to prove his charges. Pp. 352 U. S. 446-449, 352 U. S. 453-454.

231 F.2d 620 reversed.

Page 352 U. S. 446

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