“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,” said Mike Bass, chief communications officer for the NBA.
The announcement followed a report from The Athletic that Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban quietly ended the custom of singing the national anthem before the team’s home games.
Cuban reacted to the NBA’s announcement in a statement in which he doubled down on his assertion that the anthem is not inclusive.
“We respect and always have respected the passion people have for the anthem and our country. But we also loudly hear the voices of those who feel that the anthem does not represent them,” Cuban said.
“We feel that their voices need to be respected and heard, because they have not been. Going forward, our hope is that people will take the same passion they have for this issue and apply the same amount of energy to listen to those who feel differently from them.”
Cuban had not announced the decision, but The Athletic confirmed the cancellation of the Star-Spangled Banner as the song was not played at the American Airlines Center, their own arena, throughout the preseason or at any of the team’s home games during the regular season.
Lt. Gov Dan Patrick addressed Cuban in a social media post on Wednesday morning.
“Your decision to cancel our National Anthem at [Dallas Mavericks] games is a slap in the face to every American & an embarrassment to Texas,” Patrick wrote. “Sell the franchise & some Texas Patriots will buy it. We ARE the land of the free & the home of the brave.”
In fact, Patrick announced new legislation to require the playing of the national anthem “at all events that receive public funding.”
“In this time when so many things divide us, sports are one thing that bring us together — right, left, black, white and brown,” Patrick said. “This legislation already enjoys broad support. I am certain it will pass, and the Star Spangled Banner will not be threatened in the Lone Star State again.”
Cuban and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) got into a fracas in October after Cruz ridiculed the NBA for its dip in ratings after the league involved itself in political issues.
In part of a back-and-forth on Twitter, Cruz accused Cuban and the NBA of using games for political posturing.
“I love [the Houston Rockets] & have rooted for them my entire life. I happily cheer for the Spurs & Mavericks against any non-TX team,” Cruz wrote. “But [Cuban] the NBA is engaged in a concerted effort to (1) insult their fans & (2) turn every game into a left-wing political lecture. That’s dumb.”
Cuban blasted Cruz in a rebuttal, referencing Cruz’s statement that he hadn’t watched any of the NBA finals.
“You are so full of [expletive]. You haven’t watched a game of the finals, how would you know what is being said or done?” Cuban asserted. “Since when is a desire to end racism an insult to anyone or political? And you don’t think using #GetWokeGoBroke is a partisan insult? Again, this is who you are.”
The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday in a 122-127 win. The game was the first one at the American Airlines Center in which a limited number of fans were allowed to attend physically.