The Dallas Mavericks have played 13 preseason and regular-season games at home this NBA season, and not once has the national anthem played. It was absent even as a limited audience of 1,500 fans took in Monday's game at American Airlines Center, and it's not likely to resume this season. Team owner Mark Cuban tells ESPN that the anthem has been scrubbed from games at his direction, following consultation with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. While NBA players are required to stand for the anthem, Silver is not enforcing the rule, allowing players and coaches to kneel in support of social justice causes. This is believed to be the first case of a professional sports team dropping the pregame US national anthem, reports the Athletic. Cuban did not give his reasoning for the change.
In 2017, he said he expected players to stand for the anthem. But "I think we've learned a lot since 2017," Cuban told ESPN in June, adding it was "a beautiful thing" that players "look to move this country forward when it comes to race relationships." "If they were taking a knee and they were being respectful, I'd be proud of them. Hopefully I'd join them," he continued, saying it was not "an issue of respect or disrespect to the flag or to the anthem or to our country." He said he would ultimately go with what his players wanted. A month later, just before the vast majority of athletes knelt during the national anthem as the NBA season resumed, Cuban tweeted that "the National Anthem Police in this country are out of control," prompting pushback from Sen. Ted Cruz, per USA Today. (Read more NBA stories.)