Dallas Mavericks Have Stopped Playing National Anthem before Home Games

Feb 13, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; A general view of the Dallas Mavericks logo at center court before the game between the Mavericks and the Sacramento Kings at the American Airlines Center. (Jerome Miron – USA TODAY Sports)

The Dallas Mavericks have stopped playing the national anthem before home games at the direction of owner Mark Cuban, he confirmed to ESPN on Tuesday.

The Mavericks do not plan to resume the tradition to play the national anthem before games in the future.

Cuban, who declined further comment, made the decision after consulting with NBA commissioner Adam Silver. The Mavericks did not announce the change in policy, but the national anthem has not been played before any of their 13 preseason and regular-season games at the American Airlines Center this season.

No players, coaches or staffers from other teams have mentioned the change, according to a team source.

The NBA’s rulebook requires players to stand during the national anthem, but Silver has declined to enforce that rule, particularly as kneeling during the anthem became a popular way to protest social injustice in recent years. The vast majority of NBA players and many coaches kneeled during the national anthem during the NBA’s restart last summer in Orlando, Florida, when the league incorporated messaging supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and other social justice causes in the court design and other ways.

“I recognize that this is a very emotional issue on both sides of the equation in America right now, and I think it calls for real engagement rather than rule enforcement,” Silver said during a news conference in December.

In a June interview on ESPN’s Outside the Lines, Cuban expressed support for players kneeling during the national anthem as a form of protest.

“If they were taking a knee and they were being respectful, I’d be proud of them. Hopefully I’d join them,” Cuban said.

Cuban added then that he hoped the league would “allow players to do what’s in their heart.”

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SOURCE: ESPN