Texas Senate Passes Controversial National Anthem Bill After Mark Cuban Incident

In February, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban announced that the team would not play the national [...]

In February, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban announced that the team would not play the national anthem at any home games, sparking a response from fans and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. Now he may not have a choice in the matter due to a new bill. The Texas Senate passed a bill on Thursday that would require professional sports teams with government contracts to play the national anthem before games.

According to Awesemo, the bill passed 28-2 in the Senate with bipartisan support. It will now head to the Texas House of Representatives. The bill states that "A governmental entity may not enter into an agreement with a professional sports team that requires a financial commitment by this state or any governmental entity" unless the agreement includes written verification that the team will play the national anthem at all sporting events at the home venue or any other facility controlled by the team for the event. The act will take effect on Sept. 1, 2021.

When Cuban originally announced that the Mavericks would not play the national anthem, the league quickly responded. NBA Chief Communications Officer Mike Bass said that "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." The Mavericks had not played the anthem at any games prior to fans returning to the arena, but the league made it clear that this trend would have to change.

Cuban saw the NBA's statement and responded with comments of his own. He explained that he stands for the national anthem but said that the team took this approach due to other people on the team and how they responded. He then threw some shade at those criticizing the decision to avoid playing the national anthem.

"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."

The league has previously required players to stand during the national anthem, but Silver did not enforce the rule in 2020. When the NBA began to play in the Orlando bubble after a COVID-19-forced postponement, players kneeled during the anthem. They also wore jerseys with different names and phrases on their jerseys to support the Black Lives Matter movement.