Sullivan (plaintiff), the owner of the New England Patriots, wanted to sell a non-controlling share of the team in a public offering. The National Football League (NFL) (defendant) had a policy against public ownership of teams. Consequently, Sullivan sold the team for much less than what it was worth. Thereafter, Sullivan brought suit against the NFL for damages under the Sherman Act, claiming that the NFL’s policy against public ownership cost him millions of dollars. A jury trial in district court found for Sullivan and awarded money damages. The NFL appealed.