UPDATE, Feb. 10, 2021: Following the publication of this story, NBA Chief Communications Officer Mike Bass said in a statement: “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.”
In response, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told The New York Times regarding the league’s decision: “We are good with it.”
Our original story remains below as published:
The Dallas Mavericks of the National Basketball Association are no longer playing the national anthem before their games.
“It was my decision, and I made it in November,” team owner Mark Cuban said, The New York Times reported. Cuban offered no further comment.
The anthem has not been played at any of the team’s 13 pre-season and regular season home games, according to Sports Illustrated.
The policy was not announced in advance.
The NBA, which has a policy on the books of requiring players to stand for the anthem, will allow teams “to run their pregame operations as they see fit” because of “the unique circumstances this season,” a league spokesman told The Times.
According to The Athletic, The Mavericks are believed to be the first American pro team to enact a policy of not playing the anthem prior to games with fans in attendance. In recent years, the anthem has been used as a backdrop for social justice protests by NBA and NFL players.
However, as The Times reported, Dallas played “God Bless America” when the team had been owned by Donald Carter and adopted the national anthem when Ross Perot owned the tram, prior to Cuban purchasing it.
The NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers would often play a version of “God Bless America” recorded by Kate Smith, which was regarded as a good luck charm by the team after the tradition began in 1969. The team stopped playing the song in 2019 amid concerns that some songs Smith sang were “racist,” according to WCAU-TV.
News of Cuban’s decision caused ripples on Twitter.
China owns the NBA. Won’t be long until the Mavericks and all the rest will be playing the CCP National anthem. Trump exposed them all, they hate America and they hate people who work, go to church and love their family. We all know what’s coming…
— Mike (@fenner_mike) February 10, 2021
The American flag 🇺🇸 & National Anthem 🎶 were two of the things that united people in this country. Regardless of sex or race or ethnic background or political party-these were the civic rituals that brought us together. They still should.
— Scott Walker (@ScottWalker) February 10, 2021
I have been a lifelong Dallas Mavericks fan! Diehard! But I’m not sure if we are going in the same direction! They, Mark Cuban, has decided to not play the National Anthem anymore before their games. I’m not going to get behind that! I’m done watching!
— Dale West (@CoachDaleWest) February 10, 2021
So Mark Cuban, Owner of the Dallas Mavericks, NBA, has decided not to play the National Anthem at their home games., I hope that the fans, or former fans should I say, not only not attend games, not watch on TV, or purchase team appeal, @boycottthemavericks
— Mark Boultinghouse (@mtboultinghouse) February 10, 2021
Cuban said last year that he supported anthem protesters.
“If they were taking a knee and they were being respectful, I’d be proud of them. Hopefully I’d join them,” he told ESPN.
He followed that up with a defiant tweet, which is no longer available.
“The National Anthem Police in this country are out of control. If you want to complain, complain to your boss and ask why they don’t play the National Anthem every day before you start work,” he tweeted then.
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