Dallas, TX – Mark Cuban confirmed on Tuesday night that he has instructed the Dallas Mavericks to skip playing the National Anthem before home games for the rest of the basketball season.
“It was my decision, and I made it in November,” Cuban told
The New York Times.
The Mavericks hadn’t played the National Anthem at games this year fueling speculation about what was going on, but the team hadn’t previously announced that omitting the “Star-Spangled Banner” was actually team policy until Feb. 9.
The National Basketball Association (NBA) allowed each individual team “to run their pregame operations as they see fit” because of “the unique circumstances this season,” The New York Times reported.
Almost two-thirds of the 30 teams in the league still cannot have fans in the arena for home games because of pandemic restrictions.
However, the NBA does have a rule that requires its players to stand during the National Anthem that has been in the rule book since the 1980s.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in December of 2020 that the rule would not be strictly enforced this season, according to the New York Times.
Multiple players took a knee during the National Anthem at the start of the season when teams were playing in Walt Disney World because of the pandemic.
The Dallas Mavericks are the only team in the NBA that has officially done away with playing the National Anthem, according to The Athletic.
The rest of the league has continued to play a recorded version of the National Anthem before games.
The Mavericks failed to play the National Anthem during their 12 regular-season home games as well as 13 pre-season games.
Dallas played at home against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Feb. 8 and that was the first game a small number of fans were allowed into the arena this season.
New Orleans Pelicans’ coach Stan Van Gundy applauded the decision to stop playing the National Anthem on Twitter.
“This should happen everywhere. If you think the anthem needs to be played before sporting events, then play it before every movie, concert, church service and the start of every work day at every business. What good reason is there to play the anthem before a game?” Van Gundy tweeted.
This is not the first time in Mavericks’ history that the team has forgone the National Anthem tradition, The New York Times reported.
The first 16 years the Dallas Mavericks existed, under the ownership of Donald Carter, “God Bless America” was sung before games.
The Mavericks began playing the National Anthem only after the team was bought by Ross Perot on May 1, 1996, The New York Times reported.
The team was purchased by Cuban in January of 2000.
Cuban said during an interview in June of 2020 that he would support any of his players who chose to take a knee, The New York Times reported.
“If they were taking a knee and they were being respectful, I’d be proud of them,” Cuban said. “Hopefully I’d join them.”
He took umbrage at the criticism of players who chose to kneel.
“The National Anthem Police in this country are out of control,” Cuban tweeted, according to The New York Times. “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.”