DALLAS (NewsNation Now) — Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said Tuesday he decided before this season began not to play the national anthem before the team’s home games. Wednesday night, the “Star Spangled Banner” played at the Mavs game after the NBA reiterated their policy.
Cuban didn’t initially elaborate on his decision not to play the anthem, saying nobody had noticed. The Athletic first reported that Dallas had dropped the anthem.
The decision was rebuked in a statement Wednesday by the NBA.
“With NBA teams now in the process of welcoming fans back into their arenas, all teams will play the national anthem in keeping with longstanding league policy,” said NBA Chief Communications Officer Mike Bass.
After the NBA response, the Mavericks’ PR Twitter account announced the “national anthem will play prior to tonight’s game” along with a statement attributed to Cuban:
We respect and have always respected the passion people have for the anthem and our county. But we also loudly hear the voices of those who feel that the anthem does not represent them. We feel that their voices need to be respected and heard, because they have not been.
Going forward, our hope is that people will take the same passion they have for this issue and apply the same amount of energy to listen to those who feel differently from them. Only then can we move forward and have courageous conversations that move this county forward and find what unites us.Mark Cuban
Cuban was outspoken against critics of NBA players and coaches kneeling during “The Star-Spangled Banner” when the 2019-20 season resumed in the bubble in Florida last summer.
The pregame national anthem is a staple of American sports at both the professional and collegiate level, but is far less commonplace at pro sporting events in other countries.
The Mavericks played their first 10 regular-season home games without fans. The club had fans for the first time in Monday’s 127-122 win over Minnesota. Dallas is allowing 1,500 vaccinated essential workers to attend games for free.
The Associated Press contributed to this report