Following Dallas Maverick owner’s decision to no longer play the national anthem before games, the NBA is now forcing all teams to play the anthem.
NBA Chief Communications Officer Mike Bass released a statement on Wednesday, just a day after Cuban said he had no plans to play the national anthem at any future home games.
“With NBA teams now in the process of welcoming back fans into their arenas, all teams will play the national anthem in keeping with longstanding league policy,” Bass said.
Cuban told The New York Times: “We are good with it.”
The Mavericks have not played the national anthem at any home games at American Airlines Center this season, a decision Cuban made back in November.
Sources close to Cuban said on Wednesday claimed that the Maverick’s decision wasn’t “because they don’t love U.S., but because many feel anthem doesn’t represent them, and they want to continue discussion of how to represent people from all communities when honoring U.S. at game.”
The league’s announcement appears to be a reversal from its initial response on Tuesday in which NBA spokesman Tim Frank told the Associated Press, “Under the unique circumstances of this season, teams are permitted to run their pregame operations as they see fit.”
Cuban issued another statement Wednesday saying that the team will play the anthem later that night during their home game against the Atlanta Hawks.
“We respect and always have respect the passion people have for the anthem and our country,” the statement began. “I have always stood for the anthem with the hand over my heart – no matter where I hear it played.”
He continued: “But we also hear the voices of those who do not feel the anthem represents them. We feel they also need to be respected and heard, because they have not been heard. The hope is that those who feel passionate about the anthem being played will be just as passionate in listening to those who do not feel it represents them.”
At the direction of Cuban, the Mavericks originally stopped playing the national anthem before home games this season with no intention to resume playing them.
As noted by The Athletic, the anthem-snub by the Mavericks is “the first instance we know of a pro sports team striking the U.S. anthem from the pre-game.”
Cuban confirmed to Cato that he was the one who decided the Mavs should pull the anthem.
“None of 13 preseason and regular-season games played at the American Airlines Center this season have featured the anthem before the game, including Monday’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, the first played this season with a limited amount of fans in attendance,” Cato reported Monday.
“The Mavericks did not publicize the anthem’s removal, and The Athletic was the first media organization to reach out about the change after noticing its absence on Monday. Multiple team employees described only noticing the anthem’s removal on their own, as it was also not announced or explained internally.”