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After years of heated debates and criticism from all corners of the sports world, the Dallas Mavericks have found a solution.
The team is done playing the national anthem before games.
The Mavericks, owner Mark Cuban told The Athletic on Monday night, have not played the anthem during any of their 13 home games at the American Airlines Center so far this season by design. Only one of those games — Monday’s 127-122 win against the Minnesota Timberwolves — had limited fans in attendance, something that likely allowed the decision to slip under the radar.
The decision, per the report, was not something that the team announced internally. Both Cuban and the Mavericks denied comment to The Athletic about the change. An NBA spokesperson said that “under the unique circumstances of this season, teams are permitted to run their pregame operations as they see fit,” per The Athletic.
Adam Silver not enforcing old anthem policy
Players have been kneeling during the national anthem in protest since former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started doing so in 2016 — something he did in an effort to bring attention to police brutality and social injustice throughout the country.
Since then, players across all sports have started kneeling during the anthem in protest. Most NBA players did so during last season’s COVID-19 bubble at Walt Disney World, which took place amid the massive Black Lives Matter movement.
Cuban, who had initially said in 2017 he would stand with his hand over his heart and wanted players to do so, sided with the players in June.
“If they were taking a knee and they were being respectful, I’d be proud of them,” Cuban said. “Hopefully I’d join them.”
The NBA has long required that players and coaches stand during the anthem, though the league did not enforce that policy in the bubble. Commissioner Adam Silver said that it is his “expectation” that teams will start standing again before this season started, as he thinks that “ritual” can bring the country together, but that the league wouldn’t enforce the policy.
“I recognize that this is a very emotional issue on both sides of the equation in America right now,” Silver said in December. “I think it calls for real engagement rather than rule enforcement.”
Though the issue with the national anthem may not be over throughout the country, Cuban has found a successful way to end it in Dallas.
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