TSR Sports: The Dallas Mavericks have stopped playing the national anthem before their home games at the direction of the team’s owner, Mark Cuban.
ESPN reports the Mavericks do not plan to continue the tradition to play the national anthem before games in the future.
According to ESPN, Cuban, who declined further comment, made the decision after consulting with NBA commissioner Adam Silver. The Mavericks did not formally announce the change in policy, but the national anthem has not been played before any of their 13 preseason and regular-season games at the American Airlines Center this season.
The NBA’s rulebook requires players to stand during the national anthem, but Silver has declined to enforce that rule, especially considering kneeling during the anthem became a popular way to protest social injustice in recent years.
The vast majority of NBA players and many of their coaches kneeled during the national anthem during the NBA’s restart last summer in Orlando, Florida. The league also incorporated messaging supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and other social justice causes in the court design and other ways.
“I recognize that this is a very emotional issue on both sides of the equation in America right now, and I think it calls for real engagement rather than rule enforcement,” Silver said during a news conference in December.
Cuban has vocally been supportive of the players’ right to protest.
“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,” Cuban said. “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.”
“I’ll defer to [Silver] on any final judgments and [players’ union executive director] Michele Roberts. But the reality is, my hope is we’ll let the players do exactly what they think is the right thing to do,” Cuban said.
Want tea directly in your text inbox? Hit us up at 917-722-8057 or click here to join!