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First in the league
The Mark Cuban-owned Dallas Mavericks will no longer play the national anthem before their NBA games, according to reports.
What are the details?
Sports Illustrated reported Tuesday that Cuban, ahead of the NBA season, decided that "The Star-Spangled Banner" would no longer be played before Mavericks games.
Sports Illustrated noted that the Mavericks did not publicize the decision, and some players said that they weren't even aware of the move until they discovered it on their own.
The outlet said, "This is believed to be the first instance of a professional team getting rid of the U.S. national anthem from the pre-game, according to the Athletic. Major League Soccer did not play the anthem during a tournament in 2020 in Orlando that did not have fans present, but teams have since started playing it prior to their home games."
Cuban has not publicly spoken out on the move at the time of this reporting and declined to comment to the Athletic.
According to the Washington Post, however, "The Mavericks have not played the anthem in their first 13 preseason and regular season home games, breaking with a universal practice for professional sports in America — but one that has become fraught in recent years as athletes have seized on the moment to protest racial injustice and other causes. Cuban denied to The Post a report from The Athletic, the first to break the story, that the organization had decided not to play 'The Star-Spangled Banner' at the American Airlines Center moving forward."
"That is incorrect," Cuban told the Post. "We have given no comment on what our plans are."
The outlet also reported that Cuban did not respond to questions regarding why he directed the organization not to play the national anthem so far this season.
It also pointed out that the Mavericks have chosen to avoid playing the national anthem in the past.
"As the New York Times pointed out, the team, then owned by Donald Carter, played 'God Bless America' before games for the club's first 16 years," the outlet reported. "The team switched to 'The Star-Spangled Banner' in 1996 when Ross Perot Jr. became owner, four years before Cuban took over."
A spokesperson for the NBA told the outlet that "under the unique circumstances of this season, teams are permitted to run their pregame operations as they see fit."
In July, Cuban told ESPN that he supported his players' desire to kneel during the playing of the national anthem.
"If they were taking a knee, and they were being respectful, I'd be proud of them," he reasoned. "Hopefully, I'd join them."
Sports Illustrated reported that just two days after that remark, Cuban tweeted, "The National Anthem Police in this country are out of control. If you want to complain, complain to your boss and ask why don't they the National Anthem every day before you start work."
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