The age-old tradition of playing the United States national anthem before a home game has been customary for sports teams across the country, but NBA franchise Dallas Mavericks decides to bring in some alteration.
The pregame practice saw some changes which date back to 2016, when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first took a knee during the national anthem to draw attention to the repeated incidents of police brutality and racial injustice that have been happening in the US.
The gesture gained pace in the past year, as many players decided to start taking a knee during the anthem to show solidarity towards the death of George Floyd, and the Black Lives Matter movement that followed suit all over the world.
Mark Cuban, Mavericks’ majority owner decides to stop playing the national anthem at home
In the meantime, Dallas Mavericks have not played the national anthem in any of their 13 home games this season so far, even their recent faceoff against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday which allowed a limited number of spectators for the first time this season.
Now, the team’s majority owner Mark Cuban had decided to stop the pregame customary at the American Airlines Center for good.
While the announcement of the decision was not made public, the confirmation came from both Cuban and the team as they revealed it to The Athletic after Monday’s game.
Interestingly, Cuban was originally not on board with the idea of not standing up for the national anthem, as back in 2017 he had stated that he would want his players to follow him to hold their hands over their hearts as The Star-Spangled Banner plays.
However, in June last year, Cuban decided to alter his stance.
“Whether it’s holding their arm up in the air, whether it’s taking a knee, whatever it is, I don’t think this is an issue of respect or disrespect to the flag or to the anthem or to our country,” the Mavericks owner told ESPN at that time.
“So I’ll stand in unison with our players, whatever they choose to do. But again, when our players in the NBA do what’s in their heart, when they do what they feel represents who they are and look to move this country forward when it comes to race relationships, I think that’s a beautiful thing and I’ll be proud of them,” Cuban had asserted.
With 11 wins and 14 losses this season so far, Mavericks are 13th in the Western Conference and will host Atlanta Hawks up next.