- The Dallas Mavericks stopped playing the national anthem before games this season.
- Team owner Mark Cuban reportedly made the decision, and the team doesn’t plan to play it in the future.
- The NBA on Wednesday released a statement saying all teams should now play the anthem, with the Mavs agreeing to comply.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Through 13 preseason and home regular-season games, the Dallas Mavericks have not played the national anthem before tip-off, as first reported by The Athletic’s Tim Cato.
Cato reported that the team owner Mark Cuban made the decision, and the team does not plan to play the national anthem moving forward.
Cuban did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment on the issue. He has not provided further comment on the topic to other outlets.
However, on Wednesday, the NBA released a statement saying that as more and more fans re-enter arenas, all teams should play the anthem.
“With NBA teams now in the process of welcoming fans back into their arenas, all teams will play the national anthem in keeping with longstanding league policy,” the NBA’s statement read.
Cuban told The New York Times’ Marc Stein that he is ok with the league enforcing the playing of the anthem.
The decision comes after athletes around the sports world kneeled or raised their fists during the national anthem to protest police brutality and social injustice. The NBA has a rule that requires players to stand for the anthem, but it has not enforced it recently, including in the Disney bubble, where entire teams kneeled for the anthem.
In a December press conference, Commissioner Adam Silver said that he felt the situation called for “real engagement rather than rule enforcement.”
An NBA spokesperson had told Cato, prior to the statement on Wednesday, “under the unique circumstances of this season, teams are permitted to run their pregame operations as they see fit.”
In a June interview with ESPN’s “Outside the Lines, Cuban supported players who kneeled during the anthem.
“If they were taking a knee and they were being respectful, I’d be proud of them. Hopefully, I’d join them,” Cuban said.
He added: “Whether it’s holding their arm up in the air, whether it’s taking a knee, whatever it is, I don’t think this is an issue of respect or disrespect to the flag or to the anthem or to our country. I think this is more a reflection of our players’ commitment to this country and the fact that it’s so important to them that they’re willing to say what’s in their heart and do what they think is right.”
Cuban released a statement through the Mavericks, saying while the team would play the anthem, he hoped critics of anthem protests would listen to those who feel “the anthem does not represent them.”
Mark Cuban released this new statement through the Mavericks pic.twitter.com/NUbIZc9AQs
— tim cato (@tim_cato) February 10, 2021
According to Cato, the Mavs are believed to be the first major sports organisation to stop the practice altogether. MLS teams did not play the anthem before games during their bubble in Florida, but they have since resumed, according to Cato.
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