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Basketball does not enjoy exemption from the antitrust laws.
Applicant basketball player signed a contract to play for a basketball team less than four years after applicant's high school class had graduated in violation of a rule of respondent basketball association. Respondent threatened to disallow the contract and threatened applicant's team with various sanctions. Applicant commenced an antitrust action against respondent alleging respondent's conduct was a group boycott and a per se violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. The trial court granted applicant an injunction pendente lite which allowed him to play and forbade respondent from taking actions against the team. The court of appeals stayed the injunction. Applicant sought a stay of the order of the court of appeals.
Under the circumstances, should the court issue a stay of the order of the court of appeals?
The court issued the stay, holding that the equities between the parties favored allowing applicant to play and prohibiting respondent from sanctioning applicant's team pending the antitrust action. The court held that basketball enjoyed no exemption from the antitrust laws, and the group boycott issue in professional sports was a significant one. According to the court, the status quo before the Association's action against the player and his team was more worthy of interim protection than the status quo before the player signed with his team.