Well, we know that there won’t be any protests during the national anthem at Mavs game this season.
Because they’re not playing it.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban quietly made the change at the beginning of the season, and the national anthem has not been played at any of the team’s pre-season or regular season games so far this year. But it wasn’t until the team’s game on Monday, when fans were allowed back in American Airlines Arena for the first time this season, that anybody actually pointed it out.
Cuban confirmed to ESPN that he was the one who made the decision after consulting with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, but declined further comment on the move.
Cuban has been outspoken in his support of players protesting during the anthem, writing in a now-deleted tweet from last July that:
“The National Anthem Police in this country are out of control. If you want to complain, complain to your boss and ask why they don’t play the National Anthem every day before you start work.”
He’s also said that as long as players are protesting in a “respectful manner,” he’d be glad to join them himself.
After news of the Mavericks’ decision began to spread, Twitter was (surprise) divided, with some calling it the right move, and even suggesting that we need to do away with the national anthem at ALL sporting events.
The only time a national anthem needs to be played at a sporting event is the Olympics. I like this decision.
This should happen everywhere. If you think the anthem needs to be played before sporting events, then play it before every movie, concert, church service and the start of every work day at every business. What good reason is there to play the anthem before a game? https://t.co/HvnBtXhgGS
Others, however, blasted the decision by Cuban, calling it “outrageous” and “disgusting.” And the Lieutenant Governor of Texas said that the move was “a slap in the face to every American & an embarrassment to Texas,” calling on Cuban to sell the franchise altogether.
.@mcuban Your decision to cancel our National Anthem at @dallasmavs games is a slap in the face to every American & an embarrassment to Texas. Sell the franchise & some Texas Patriots will buy it. We ARE the land of free & the home of the brave. https://t.co/4xfY5loqQQ
The Mavericks appear to the the first team to do away with the national anthem entirely before their games, so it remains to be seen whether other teams, or other sports, will follow suit.
And while Cuban didn’t explain his reasoning for the move, if he thought this would make the controversy go away or calm down the passions on both sides, it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen either.