On Tuesday, Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, confirmed to ESPN that his team would stop playing the national anthem before games.
Before this point, the announcement had not been made; however, the national anthem has not been played in any preseason or regular-season game so far.
Mark Cuban did not go into detail with ESPN about his decision but consulted Adam Silver, the NBA’s commissioner, prior to making the call.
The call to cancel the national anthem doesn’t come as a huge surprise due to Mark Cuban’s outspoken nature regarding pregame traditions.
“If they were taking a knee and they were being respectful, I’d be proud of them. Hopefully I’d join them,” the Mavericks’ owner said.
However, the NBA rulebook clearly states that players must stand while the national anthem is being sung.
Nola.com reported that the rule clearly states, “players, coaches and trainers are to stand and line up in a dignified posture along the sidelines or on the foul line during the playing of the national anthem.”
League Commissioner, Adam Silver, has yet to enforce that rule in any such form.
When it came to commenting about league punishments, Mark Cuban passed his opinion to Adam Silver.
“I’ll defer to [Silver] on any final judgments and [players’ union executive director] Michele Roberts. But the reality is, my hope is we’ll let the players do exactly what they think is the right thing to do,” Cuban said last June on ESPN.
Mark Cuban went on to say, “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 … 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.”
Several years prior, Mark Cuban was singing a very different tune than what he is broadcasting today and months prior.
“This is America, and I’m proud of people who speak out civilly. That’s who we are as a country … I’ll be standing there with my hand over my heart. I think the players will be [standing]. I expect them to be,” Cuban said in 2017.
It appears that Mark Cuban has ditched this way of thinking altogether.
Not only is the Mavericks owner now tolerating his players’ protest of the anthem, but he has also decided to trash the entire anthem altogether.
As we have seen in other sports and in cancel culture, if one organization moves in a specific direction, the rest will follow.
While a Dallas Mavericks source claims that no players, coaches, or staff from other teams complained about the change, this may be just the beginning.
Sports were once the pride and joy of this country, and it is clear that each league is moving away from the stigma of patriotism.
It’s no longer outlandish to believe that within the next few years, no NBA teams will be playing the national anthem.
Even if the teams refuse to play the anthem due to the controversy, it seems like any leadership of courage, unity, and patriotism has evaporated from the realm of sports.
UPDATE: As of Wednesday afternoon this story has evolved. Click here to read more.