Dallas Mavericks won’t play national anthem at home games, Cuban says

The owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban, confirmed on Tuesday that the NBA team will continue to not play the national anthem before home games as they have done throughout the current season.

Cuban told The Athletic and ESPN on Tuesday that the Mavericks have not played the anthem at American Airlines Center in Dallas before 13 preseason and regular-season games this year, which a spokesperson for the Mavericks confirmed to The Hill on Wednesday.

That included Monday night’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, the first of the regular season that had limited fans in attendance, according to Bleacher Report.

The change had not been announced previously.

Cuban reportedly made the decision not to play the anthem after discussing it with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, according to ESPN. 

An NBA spokesperson told Bleacher Report that “under the unique circumstances of this season, teams are permitted to run their pregame operations as they see fit.”

NBA rules mandate that players stand for the national anthem before games. But the commissioner has not enforced the rule recently as athletes have taken to kneeling during the anthem to demonstrate against social injustice, ESPN noted.

Players knelt and peacefully protested during the anthem when the NBA returned after a pause in its season due to coronavirus last year. The protests followed last summer’s Black Lives Matter demonstrations over racial injustice following the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

Cuban at the time expressed support for the players. 

“If they were taking a knee and they were being respectful, I’d be proud of them,” he said at the time. “Hopefully I’d join them.”

The Mavericks owner got into a Twitter argument with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on the subject after Cuban responded to radio talk show host Mark Davis’s tweet threatening to stop supporting the NBA if players knelt by saying “Bye.”

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first started kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial injustice in 2016. 

Updated at 9:33 a.m.

Tags Basketball Black Lives Matter Dallas Mavericks kneeling Mark Cuban National anthem NBA professional basketball Ted Cruz

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