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Friday, January 22, 2010
The worst sports league idea ever?

The Wall Street Journal Law Blog asks, "Would an All-White Professional Basketball League be Legal?" Apparently, someone wants to start a professional basketball league limited to "players that are natural born United States citizens with both parents of Caucasian race . . . ."


Sports agent Jason Wolf, in a post linked to by the WSJ Law blog, suggests the legality of the league's structure is questionable. Also linked is a blog post by Eric Lipman, which raises the question of whether this is nothing more than a hoax (NBC thinks not).

Bearing in mind the possibility that this is nothing more than a joke, I'd say Title VII, not to mention various state anti-discrimination laws and a disastrously immoral business model, will likely make this league a no-go.


Would the first challenge not be on racial grounds but.....Imagine if an African-American player, natural-born, BUT adopted by two white parents, wanted to play in this odd league. Eligible or not?

Anonymous Anonymous -- 1/24/2010 5:07 AM  

This is not even an interesting theoretical question; it is a no-brainer. If Title VII does not knock this out, then ยง 1981 (no refusal to contract, including in employment, on the basis of race).

Blogger Howard Wasserman -- 1/24/2010 8:27 PM  

In Hawaii, there are still exclusive ethnic baseball leagues which date back to the 1930s when non-whites were not allowed to join the all-white American Legion or semi-pro leagues in Hawaii. These organizations offered people of certain ethnic groups a chance to participate in sports.

Over the years, there have been very few challenges (legal or otherwise) to the leagues' admission policies. I don't know whether it's because:

(a) most local residents respect the fact that, historically, these leagues were formed because because of past discriminatory practices, or

(b) given so many other alternatives to play baseball, people just leave these groups alone, or

(c) given Hawaii's ethnic diversity, most local residents don't really feel the need to challenge their right to ethnically exclusive associations.

In any case, maybe there's a lesson in there for other states?

Blogger cjsamms -- 2/01/2010 8:00 AM  

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