It has been confirmed, in the words of owner Mark Cuban, that The Dallas Mavericks, an NBA franchise, will forgo playing the national anthem at home games, becoming the first American team to take this position.
“The Mavericks are believed to be the first U.S. professional sports team to stop playing the anthem at home,” reported the news outlet Axios, one of those media who received the exclusive from Mark Cuban along with The Athletic.
“Cuban and the Mavericks did not publicize the removal of the national anthem before games, but The Athletic contacted the team after realizing it had not been played before Monday’s game. Several team employees noticed the anthem’s removal on their own, according to The Athletic. They also said it was not announced or explained internally,” Fox News reads.
“MLS teams didn’t play the anthem during last summer’s Orlando tournament because the league didn’t consider it “appropriate” without fans in the stands. But the teams resumed the tradition once they returned to their stadiums,” explained Axios.
Mark Cuban against the anthem
Back in June, Mark Cuban expressed his support for players who kneel when the national anthem is played as a symbol of protest, telling ESPN, “If they would kneel and be respectful, I’d be proud of them. Hopefully I would join them.”
In July, Cuban tweeted, “The national anthem police in this country are out of control. If you want to complain, complain to your boss and ask him why they don’t play the national anthem every day before they start work.”
The Dallas Mavericks did not formally announce their new policy, but Mark Cuban was able to enact it because the NBA has allowed teams to “conduct their pre-game operations as they see fit” during the current season, according to a basketball league spokesman.
“On Monday, the Mavericks became the 11th NBA team to welcome fans, admitting 1,500 front-line workers to their game against the Timberwolves,” Axios reads.
According to the agency, the backdrop is that the NBA, in theory, “requires players to stand for the anthem, but the league has failed to enforce the rule in recent years when kneeling became a method of protest.”
Thus, the Mavericks’ decision could be seen as a team abandoning a tradition, perhaps out of the ideology of its own team or board of directors.
“It’s worth noting that many NBA teams took a knee during the anthem last month following the Capitol siege and the news that the police officers who shot Jacob Blake would not face charges. The Mavericks (in Denver) were one of them,” explained Axios.
The national anthem before games is a long-standing tradition in the United States that was strengthened, above all, after World War II when American’s patriotic sense reached a formidable level.
At that time, the NFL began to require that the anthem be played before every game, and this quickly spread to other sports.