Mark Cuban Told Mavericks Not to Play National Anthem Before Home Games

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May 8, 2002
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Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, said Tuesday that he decided before the start of the season not to play the national anthem before the team’s home games. “It was my decision, and I made it in November,” Cuban said without further comment. The new policy, which was first reported by the Athletic, makes Dallas the first team to forgo playing the anthem at home games. The Mavericks played their first ten regular-season home games without the anthem and without fans. Fans were invited to a game for the first time on Monday, with the team allowing 1,500 vaccinated essential workers to attend games for free. The NBA has allowed teams “to run their pregame operations as they see fit” because of “the unique circumstances this season,” according to a league spokesman. Players had been required to stand for the national anthem since the 1980s in accordance with the league’s rule book. NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in December that the rule would not be strictly enforced this season. “I recognize that this is a very emotional issue on both sides of the equation in America right now, and I think it calls for real engagement rather than rule enforcement,” Silver said at the time. The rule was also not strictly enforced at the end of the 2019-20 season when a number of players chose to kneel during the anthem to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Cuban has been outspoken in his support of the movement, saying in June that he would kneel with players during the anthem. He also tweeted shortly after, “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.” Cuban defended the league’s support of Black Lives Matter on The Megyn Kelly Show podcast in October, saying the NBA does not endorse “,” the group which was founded by Marxists and has expressed support for dismantling the nuclear family, but instead the Black Lives Matter movement at large, which he claims is separate from the group. “We’re supporting the movement. It’s really a distributive movement across the country to try to end racism to bring awareness to social justice issues,” he said.

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