Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said Tuesday that he decided before this season began not to play the national anthem before the team’s home games. The Mavericks played their first 10 regular-season home games without fans, but recently decided to allow 1,500 vaccinated essential workers to attend free games.
Cuban did not elaborate on his decision not to play the anthem, saying no one had noticed. In response, NBA communications director Mike Bass issued a statement that read: “Now that NBA teams are in the process of welcoming fans to their arenas, all teams will play the national anthem. in accordance with long-standing league policy. ” Shortly after the statement was released, Cuban responded by saying that his team will resume playing the national anthem before tonight’s game against the Atlanta Hawks, according to Athletic. “The hope is that those who are passionate about the anthem that is being played will be just as passionate about listening to those who do not feel it represents them,” Cuban said in the statement. Cuban was outspoken in confronting critics from NBA players and coaches who knelt during “The Star-Spangled Banner” when the 2019-20 season resumed in its bubble format in Florida last summer. It‘s worth noting that the NBA has ignored the “long-standing league policy” surrounding the national anthem in the past. The NBA has a rule that prohibits players from kneeling for the national anthem, but Commissioner Adam Silver did not enforce that rule during the reboot of the NBA season at Disney World. “I respect the unified act of peaceful protest by our teams for social justice, and under these unique circumstances, I will not enforce our long-standing rule that requires standing while playing our national anthem,” Silver told Yahoo News at 2020. The pregame national anthem is a staple of American sports at both professional and college levels, but it is much less common at professional sporting events in other countries. White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked about the situation during today’s briefing, responding that she had not “spoken to the president about Mark Cuban’s decision.” Associated Press contributed to this report.