After the hoopla surrounding a recent report from The Athletic around the Dallas Mavericks choosing not to play the national anthem before games to start the season, team governor Mark Cuban has decided to go back to following league policy and play “The Star-Spangled Banner” pregame once again.
The decision came after conversations with the NBA and commissioner Adam Silver about the need to return to usual as more teams bring fans back into the building for games.
“With NBA teams now in the process of welcoming fans back into their arenas, all teams will play the national anthem in keeping with longstanding league policy,” said Mark Bass, the league’s chief communications officer.
In response, Cuban agreed with the decision and said the Mavs would return to normal.
“We respect and always have respected the passion people have for the anthem and our country,” Cuban said in a statement to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks will resume playing the Anthem tonight vs. Atlanta. Statement from Cuban, in part: “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.” pic.twitter.com/XnXpd8ThlW
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 10, 2021
In the past, Cuban has expressed strong support for those who protest during the anthem in the NBA and other sports, but has now fallen in line with NBA policy rather than continue to make a stance at Mavericks home games. Dallas is, however, among the teams beginning to welcome fans into the building starting this week.
As ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski noted, Silver “wasn’t letting one team make that decision” on how to best handle the anthem for the whole league, and wanted uniformity as fans began to trickle back into the building. Perhaps the hope is that the NBA will look into its policy next offseason or determine a better course with regard to the anthem, but for now, it will be business as usual for the Mavs and the rest of the NBA.