Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said the team would not play the national anthem at home games this season. However, the NBA had something to say that as the league released a statement telling Cuban and all NBA teams, the national anthem must be played before each game.
"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." NBA Chief Communications Officer Mike Bass said. The Mavericks haven't played the national anthem this season, but fans haven't attended any games until Monday. In response to the NBA's statement, Cuban explained why the anthem wasn't played at Maverick's games.
"We respect and always have respected the passion people have for the anthem and our country," Cuban said. "I have always stood for the anthem with the hand over my heart - no matter where I head it played. But we also hear the voices of those who do not feel the anthem represents them. We feel they also need to be respected and heard because they have not been heard. 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."
According to the NBA rulebook, players must stand during the national anthem, but NBA commissioner Adam Silver has declined to enforce the rule. When the NBA began to play in the Orlando bubble this past summer, players kneeled during the anthem while wearing different names and phrases on their jerseys to support the Black Lives Matter movement.
Cuban's decision got to the White House as press secretary Jen Psaki was asked the question during her daily briefing Wednesday. Psaki said she has not spoken to President Joe Biden about the issue.
"I know he's incredibly proud to be an American and has great respect for the anthem and all that it represents,'' Psaki said, as reported by ESPN. "He'd also say, of course, that part of pride in our country means recognizing where we as a country haven't lived up to our highest ideals.'' Former President Donald Trump disapproved of players protesting during the anthem. When the NBA returned, he said he would stop watching due to the players kneeling.