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The Mavericks played their first home game in front of a small audience of fans on Monday, and for the first time all season at the American Airlines Center, people noticed that a prominent pregame tradition was missing altogether.
As reported by The Athletic, the Mavericks have not played the national anthem before any of their home games this season, a decision made by team owner Mark Cuban before the start of the season. Cuban issued a short statement to the New York Times on the issue, saying that “it was my decision, and I made it in November.”
The NBA does have a rule that players must stand for the national anthem before games, which has not been enforced by commissioner Adam Silver amid the rise of protests during the anthem. NBA spokesman Tim Frank told the Associated Press that, for the 2020-21 season at least, teams are allowed to make their own decisions about which pregame activities to include.
“Under the unique circumstances of this season, teams are permitted to run their pregame operations as they see fit.”