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The NBA is seemingly derailing billionaire team owner Mark Cuban’s plans to banish the national anthem from all Dallas Mavericks home games this season.
In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, NBA Chief Communications Officer Mike Bass said the league will play the anthem before games as they start to welcome back fans. Stadiums and arenas have generally been empty or limited across professional sports due to coronavirus precautions.
“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 statement said, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported.
NBA Chief Communications Officer Mike Bass: “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.”
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 10, 2021
The Athletic reported Tuesday: “The Dallas Mavericks have ceased playing the national anthem before home games this season and do not plan to play it moving forward, a decision made by owner Mark Cuban that he confirmed to The Athletic on Monday evening.”
As noted by Tim Cato, who broke the story at The Athletic, Dallas’ anthem-snub is “the first instance we know of a pro sports team striking the U.S. anthem from the pre-game.”
“None of 13 preseason and regular-season games played at the American Airlines Center this season have featured the anthem before the game, including Monday’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, the first played this season with a limited amount of fans in attendance,” Cato reported. “The Mavericks did not publicize the anthem’s removal, and The Athletic was the first media organization to reach out about the change after noticing its absence on Monday. Multiple team employees described only noticing the anthem’s removal on their own, as it was also not announced or explained internally.”
As noted by The Daily Wire, controversy over the anthem was sparked in 2016, when then-NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick politicized “The Star-Spangled Banner” by refusing to stand because, according to Kaepernick, America “oppresses” minorities and allows its cops to “murder” innocent people of color.
The protest has since spilled into other sports, like women’s soccer and professional basketball.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told Steve Wyche of NFL Media at the start of his protest, back in 2016. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
“This is not something that I am going to run by anybody,” he continued. “I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed. … If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right.”