In recent years, there has been debate over whether or not players of any American sport should be forced to stand up for the national anthem, or allowed to kneel or display another gesture or form of expression.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has decided to take this debate in a different direction, deciding not to play the Anthem in home games this season or moving forward, he confirmed to Tim Cato of The Athletic in an explosive story from Tuesday. The Mavs are believed, according to the report, to be the first North American professional sports team to rid themselves of the Stars and Stripes.
Fans were first cleared into the American Airlines Center in Dallas in Monday’s victory over the Minensota Timberwolves and the anthem was not played until that game, as were all 12 regular and pre. -season before this season. Cuban and the team declined to comment on the matter to The Athletic.
The NBA pushed back Cuban and the Mavericks on Wednesday, saying the national anthem will be played in all arenas.
“With the NBA teams now welcoming fans to their arenas, all teams will play the national anthem in accordance with long-standing league policy,” NBA spokesman Mike said. Bass, in a statement.
In a June interview with ESPN’s SportsCenter, Cuban said the NBA should change its rule forcing players to defend the anthem amid Black Lives Matter and many increasingly popular and vibrant social justice movements over the summer. This rule was indeed relaxed at the conclusion of the season at the Orlando bubble.
“Hopefully we’ll readjust and allow players to do what is important to them,” Cuban told ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap, “whether it’s raising his arm in the air, putting one knee in the air. If they got down on their knees and they were respectful, I would be proud of them. I hope I would join them.
A week later, in a conversation in June with former NBA player Caron Butler as part of the league’s #NBAVoices series, Cuba discussed the BLM protest movement and how it made him think of the Pledge of Allegiance he used to say every day at school.
“And to come back to it, freedom and justice for all. This is what this flag is meant to be for all of us, ”he said. “And so when people kneel down, when people stand up and protest, that is precisely what we are committed to doing all of our lives in school.”
Now, Cuban has apparently decided to do away with the national anthem altogether, reversing a decades-long trend and potentially opening the team and the league to another wave of controversy now that this news has been confirmed.