Court seem skeptical of NFL antitrust protection

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court doesn’t seem interested in immediately granting the National Football League the broad antitrust law protection the league is seeking.

Justices on Wednesday appeared skeptical of arguments that the NFL should be considered one business, not 32 separate teams working together, when it comes to selling NFL-branded items. The lower courts had thrown out an antitrust lawsuit brought against the league by one of its former hat makers.

American Needle, Inc. appealed the dismissal. But the NFL also appealed, hoping to get protection from antitrust lawsuits. Major League Baseball is the only professional sports league with blanket antitrust protection.

(This version CORRECTS by deleting the reference in the lead to the NFL seeking the same antitrust protection as the MLB.)