Mark Cuban found one way to deal with the national anthem issue.
Cuban’s Dallas Mavericks have not played the national anthem before its home games this NBA season. Even though the Dallas has not played the anthem for home games all season, the matter began to receive attention only after The Athletic publicized the situation on Tuesday.
Cuban told The New York Times’ Marc Stein that it was his decision and he made it in November. He declined to comment further.
The NBA has had a rule in place since the 1980s requiring players to stand for the anthem. NBA players did not kneel for the anthem when Colin Kaepernick first began doing so in the NFL in 2016. However, as gestures in the name of social justice became more widespread in 2020, kneeling became commonplace when the NBA season resumed in the Orlando bubble last year.
Last year, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver did not enforce the rule requiring players to stand for the anthem. The rule has not been enforced this season either.
The league is leaving it up to teams how they want to conduct pregame activities this season considering the pandemic circumstances, which is why Dallas has been able to avoid playing the anthem. The Mavs only recently began allowing fans to attend games, becoming just the 11th team in the league to have fans this season.
In 2017, Cuban said he would be standing for the anthem and that he expected the Mavericks’ players to do the same.
“This is America, and I’m proud of people who speak out civilly. That’s who we are as a country,” Cuban said at the time. “I’ll be standing there with my hand over my heart. I think the players will be [standing]. I expect them to be.”
Last year, Cuban’s stance changed.
“If they were taking a knee and they were being respectful, I’d be proud of them. Hopefully I’d join them,” Cuban said in June 2020.
He explained his change in viewpoint.
“Because I think we’ve learned a lot since 2017,” he told OTL in June. “I think we’ve evolved as a country. And this is really a unique point in time where we can grow as a society, we can grow as a country and become far more inclusive and become far more aware of the challenges that minority communities go through.
“So I’ll stand in unison with our players, whatever they choose to do. But again, when our players in the NBA do what’s in their heart, when they do what they feel represents who they are and look to move this country forward when it comes to race relationships, I think that’s a beautiful thing and I’ll be proud of them.”
Cuban has already shown that he is not concerned with alienating fans who will be upset by this decision.