Photo by Danny Fulgencio
An update to this story was published at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. Read it here.
The Dallas Mavericks will not play the national anthem before home games, team owner and Preston Hollow neighbor Mark Cuban told The Athletic earlier this week.
Though the team has no intent of playing the song in the future, the decision doesn’t mark a dramatic shift. “The Star-Spangled Banner” hasn’t been played at any of the 13 games held at the American Airlines Center this season, and for the first 16 seasons of the team’s history, “God Bless America” was played before games.
Neither Cuban nor the Mavericks commented further on the matter, and according to the Dallas Morning News, no other teams complained about the announcement.
According to ESPN, the NBA requires players to stand while the national anthem is played, but commissioner Adam Silver hasn’t been enforcing that rule.
In an interview with ESPN in June, Cuban supported the athletes who were protesting by kneeling during the anthem.
“Whether it’s holding their arm up in the air, whether it’s taking a knee, whatever it is, I don’t think this is an issue of respect or disrespect to the flag or to the anthem or to our country,” Cuban says in the interview with Outside the Lines. “I think this is more a reflection of our players’ commitment to this country and the fact that it’s so important to them that they’re willing to say what’s in their heart and do what they think is right.”
Cuban’s opinion has changed since 2017, when he said he would stand during the playing of the national anthem and expected players to do the same.
In the June interview, Cuban explains what changed his mind.
“Because I think we’ve learned a lot since 2017,” he says. “I think we’ve evolved as a country. And this is really a unique point in time where we can grow as a society, we can grow as a country and become far more inclusive and become far more aware of the challenges that minority communities go through.”