At the request of team owner Mark Cuban, the Mavericks have stopped playing the national anthem before home games, and they don’t plan to bring back the tradition.
Cuban said Marc Stein of the New York Times Tuesday that removing the anthem from pre-game ceremonies was a decision he made in November. Athlete’s Tim Cato, who first reported on the change, noted that none of Dallas’ preseason or regular season games held at the American Airlines Center this season have featured the anthem.
The Mavericks have not released an official statement on the anthem’s removal, and Cuban declined to comment further on his decision. This was also not discussed internally, as several employees of the team only realized on their own that the anthem was no longer being played, according to Cato.
An NBA spokesperson told multiple media outlets that teams are allowed to “conduct their pre-game operations as they see fit” due to “the unique circumstances of this season”. Other teams have decided to play recordings of the national anthem before home games.
As the league’s rulebook calls on all players to defend the anthem, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver chose not to enforce the policy as the 2019-20 season resumed in the Florida “bubble” and took up this approach in the 2020-2021 campaign. In recent years, kneeling during the anthem has become a popular way to protest racism and social injustice, and the league wanted to offer its support to the Black Lives Matter movement and other similar causes.
“I recognize that this is a very moving question on both sides of the equation in America right now, and I think it calls for real commitment rather than enforcement,” Silver said in December. .
In an interview last year with ESPN’s Jeremy SchaapCuban expressed his support for players who choose to respectfully kneel down for the anthem, saying, “I hope I join them.”
“Whether it’s raising your arm in the air, hitting a knee, whatever, I don’t think it’s about respect or disrespect for the flag, the anthem. or our country, ”Cuban said. “I think it reflects more of our players’ commitment to this country and the fact that it is so important to them that they are ready to say what they care about and do what they think they are. fair.
“I will defer to [commissioner] Adam [Silver] on final judgments and [players’ union executive director] Michele Roberts. But the reality is, hopefully we’ll let the players do exactly what they think is the right thing to do. “
Cuban followed this interview a few days later with a tweet deleted from: “This country’s national anthem police are out of control. If you want to complain, complain to your boss and ask him why he doesn’t play the national anthem every day before you start playing. to work.”