A new Florida bill filed this week would require professional sports teams to play the National Anthem before home games in order to receive government funding.
The proposed legislation follows a similar bill in Texas that arose after the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks temporarily stopped playing the national anthem prior to games.
State Republican Rep. Tommy Gregory, a Sarasota area lawmaker who filed the bill, said he wants to make sure a similar situation does not occur in Florida.
“I haven’t seen any Mark Cuban-type, what I would view as anti-American, protests against our anthem or our flag but I certainly want to make sure that sort of negative activism is avoided, prohibited actually, if they want to do business with the government, and most of them do,” he told the Herald-Tribune on Wednesday.
The proposed law, HB 499, was first filed in November. It states in part that: “a governmental entity may not enter into an agreement with a professional sports team that requires a financial commitment by the state or a governmental entity unless the agreement includes … written verification that the professional sports team will play the United States national anthem at the beginning of each team sporting event held at the team’s home venue or other facility controlled by the team for the event.”
Today, I filed HB 499, Agreements with Professional Sports Teams, requiring professional sports teams to play the national anthem at the beginning of any contest in Florida.
— Tommy Gregory (@tommygregoryFL) November 4, 2021
The Daily Wire previously reported on the Star Spangled Banner Protection Act, which was signed in Texas in June:
The legislation passed last week and is headed to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk for signature.
The anthem snub by the Mavericks, which lasted 13 games (including some pre-seasons games), was said to be “the first instance we know of a pro sports team striking the U.S. anthem from the pre-game,” according to Tim Cato, the reporter who broke the story for The Athletic.
Cuban confirmed to Cato that he was the one who decided the Mavs should pull the anthem.
“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 at the time. “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.”
In response, NBA Chief Communications Officer Mike Bass issued a statement stating that the anthem must be played by all teams. “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, as reported by NBC News.