Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban on Tuesday confirmed that the team will not play the national anthem before home games.
He made the decision before the season began but, according to The Atlantic, no formal announcement was made, either internally or to the press. Team employees said they noticed the anthem was not playing but they had not been informed of the decision or told why it was made.
The first 13 games of the pre-season and regular-season at the American Airlines Center were played without the anthem being played beforehand.
Monday night the Mavericks played their first game with fans. The team allowed 1,500 vaccinated essential workers to attend the game for free, the Associated Press reported.
Because of the Wuhan coronavirus and restrictions on large gatherings, teams were left to decide how they handled pre-game operations.
“Under the unique circumstances of this season, teams are permitted to run their pregame operations as they see fit,” NBA spokesman Tim Frank said.
The move isn’t all that surprising considering Cuban has been an outspoken supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement and professional athletes kneeling in protest of “police brutality,” something former National Football League quarterback Colin Kaepernick started.
Last July Cuban told ESPN he would be proud of his team for deciding to kneel.
“If they were taking a knee and they were being respectful, I’d be proud of them. Hopefully I’d join them,” he said at the time.
“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 said. “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.”
The NBA requires players to stand during the national anthem, although commissioner Adam Silver has not enforced the rule.
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