Mavs' Mark Cuban Comments on NBA's Decision to Have Anthem Played by All Teams

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistFebruary 10, 2021

Dallas Mavericks team owner Mark Cuban walks across the court floor during half time of an NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors in Dallas, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

The NBA announced on Wednesday that all NBA teams must play the national anthem before games now that "teams are welcoming fans back into their arenas," citing the league's long-standing policy. 

That came in response to the Mavericks and governor Mark Cuban not playing the anthem at home games to start this season, including last night when fans were allowed at the American Airlines Center for the first time since the pandemic started.

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

Once fans were increasingly back in arenas, including in Dallas, there was little chance Adam Silver would let Mavs continue without playing anthem. Maybe there’s a collective conversation in NBA or sports to be had on issue, but Silver wasn’t letting one team make that decision.

On Wednesday, Cuban responded to the NBA's decision to mandate the song be played:

Marc Stein @TheSteinLine

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban to @NYTSports on the league's decision to mandate the playing of the national anthem before games: "We are good with it."

Shams Charania @ShamsCharania

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.” https://t.co/XnXpd8ThlW

He also discussed the matter with Rachel Nichols on ESPN's The Jump:

A since-deleted tweet from Cuban in July 2020 seems to provide further insight into the Mavs' decision.

"The National Anthem Police in this country are out of control," he wrote. "If you want to complain, complain to your boss and ask why they don't play the National Anthem every day before you start work."

Shams Charania @ShamsCharania

Source close to Mark Cuban says decision to not play Anthem before Mavs games isn’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.

Cuban also said in June that he would support any players who chose to kneel during the anthem. 

"If they were taking a knee and they were being respectful, I'd be proud of them," he told ESPN's Jeremy Schaap on Outside the Lines. "Hopefully I'd join them."

He continued:

"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."

Playing the national anthem before U.S. sporting events remains a divisive topic:

Dan Feldman @DanFeldmanNBA

Some people: Get politics out of my sports. Mavericks stop playing national anthem Those same people: Whoa, whoa, not like that

Jane McManus @janesports

Why is the anthem played before games but not at the start of the work day? Before the opening bell? Lunch? Your workout? The office Christmas party? Weddings?

Andy Glockner @AndyGlockner

It was already disgraceful how the anthem and relationships with the military were being cynically exploited for profit, but now that it's become a politically divisive thing, as well, why are we even doing this (beyond cynically exploiting it for profit, I mean)?

Leander Schaerlaeckens @LeanderAlphabet

Also, the Mavs played 11 home games without the anthem before anybody even noticed. So what are we even talking about here?

Tim Brando @TimBrando

Ok, given the times we’re in I see your point. However, whether it’s at a 🏈or🏀game the Anthem either before or after our Show open is a reminder of how fortunate I am to live in a country that allows my pursuit of happiness & freedom to do so. So, I don’t agree with Cuban. https://t.co/T7eR1n2jvM

The NBA has made its stance clear on the subject, at least for now. It's unlikely the conversation is going away anytime soon, however.