The Dallas Mavericks just made a big decision when it comes to their pre-game activities. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told USA Today the team will not play the national anthem during their home games this season. They have played 12 homes game so far this year and have not played the national anthem once. The news was first reported by The Athletic.
NBA spokesman Tim Frank told CBS News: "Under the unique circumstances of this season, teams are permitted to run their pregame operations as they see fit." The Mavericks allowed a limited number of fans (1,500) to watch their game on Monday, which was the first time fans attended a Mavericks game this season. Dallas will host the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday.
The Athletic noted that "Cuban said in July that he would kneel with players during the anthem." In July, 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 they don't play the National Anthem every day before you start work."
The national anthem has been a big debate since San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling while the song was being played before kickoff. Kaepernick did this in 2016 and has not signed with a new team since after opting out of his contract in 2017. He was protesting police brutality and social injustice, and those issues again resurfaced in 2020 due to the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
Last season, the NBA allowed players to kneel during the national anthem as a peaceful protest. When then-President Donald Trump saw players kneeling, he said he won't watch. "When I see people kneeling during the playing and disrespecting our flag and national anthem, what I do personally is turn off the game," Trump said in an interview with Fox & Friends in August. "I think it's disgraceful. We work with [the NBA], we worked with them very hard trying to get open. I was pushing for them to get open. Then I see everybody kneeling during the anthem. That's not acceptable to me."
Cuban is not shy about sharing his views on politics. When talking about the presidential election, Cuban said on The Verge's Decoder podcast this past summer (as reported by CNBC): "We don't pick the best candidates. I don't think anybody's here to say that Joe Biden and Donald Trump were the best and brightest that this country has to offer, or even out of the primaries from either party."