Within the wake of the NBA’s assertion Wednesday reiterating its long-standing coverage that “all groups will play the nationwide anthem,” Dallas Mavericks proprietor Mark Cuban mentioned throughout an look on ESPN’s The Bounce that his group has no drawback enjoying the anthem “in any respect,” and that the choice to not achieve this thus far within the season was the product of ongoing conversations with members of the group who felt the custom “didn’t absolutely symbolize them.”
Cuban on Tuesday had instructed ESPN that he had made the choice to cease enjoying the nationwide anthem earlier than dwelling video games after consulting with NBA commissioner Adam Silver. The Mavericks didn’t announce the change in coverage, however the nationwide anthem had not been performed earlier than any of their 13 preseason and regular-season video games on the American Airways Middle this season.
“We’re at all times speaking to our group. That is one thing [Mavericks CEO Cynthia Marshall] stands for and may be very insistent upon and has grow to be a core a part of who we’re on the Dallas Mavericks,” Cuban instructed ESPN’s Rachel Nichols on Wednesday. “In listening to the group, there have been fairly a number of individuals who voiced their considerations, actually their fears that the nationwide anthem didn’t absolutely symbolize them, that their voices weren’t being heard. So we have had plenty of conversations about whether or not or not we should always play the anthem. And so in the course of the first preseason recreation, we determined to not play it and simply see what the response was, figuring out that we had been going to have ongoing conversations about it. We did not make any resolution to by no means play the nationwide then — that wasn’t the case in any respect. We did not cancel the nationwide anthem. We nonetheless had our flag flying proud up on the wall on the American Airways Middle and everyone had the chance to deal with it and pray to it or salute to it or no matter their emotions are.”
Cuban added that the group had at all times mentioned the truth that it could in all probability resume the enjoying of the anthem sooner or later, probably when followers had been allowed again within the area. The Mavericks didn’t have followers for his or her first 10 regular-season video games earlier than permitting 1,500 vaccinated important staff to attend Monday’s recreation towards Minnesota totally free.
“There was by no means any last resolution that was made that we’d not play the anthem,” Cuban mentioned.
Following the NBA’s announcement, the Mavericks mentioned they might play the anthem beginning Wednesday evening towards Atlanta whereas releasing a press release from Cuban.
“We respect and at all times have revered the eagerness folks have for the anthem and our nation,” Cuban mentioned within the assertion. “However we additionally loudly hear the voices of those that really feel that the anthem doesn’t symbolize them. We really feel that their voices must be revered and heard, as a result of they haven’t been.
“Our hope is that going ahead folks will take the identical ardour they’ve for this concern and apply the identical quantity of vitality to hearken to those that really feel in a different way from them,” he mentioned. “Then we will transfer ahead and have brave conversations that transfer this nation ahead and discover what unites us.”
The Mavs’ transfer to cease enjoying the anthem had reverberated across the nation, together with a query put to White Home press secretary Jen Psaki throughout her every day briefing Wednesday. Athlete protests of social and racial injustice in the course of the anthem turned a flash level between then-President Donald Trump and varied leagues throughout his administration.
Psaki mentioned she had not spoken to President Joe Biden in regards to the concern.
“I do know he is extremely proud to be an American and has nice respect for the anthem and all that it represents,” Psaki mentioned. “He’d additionally say, in fact, that a part of pleasure in our nation means recognizing the place we as a rustic have not lived as much as our highest beliefs.”
Backlash to ending the anthem was swift within the Texas Capitol, the place Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick urged Cuban, in a tweet, to “promote the franchise & some Texas Patriots will purchase it.” Different GOP lawmakers instructed the tax breaks the American Airways Middle receives ought to come below new scrutiny.
Requested by Nichols in regards to the backlash he had acquired for not enjoying the anthem, Cuban replied, “Whenever you attempt to do issues which are exhausting, it is by no means going to be simple. Whenever you create social change, it is by no means going to be simple. We noticed that every one summer time lengthy. We hearken to folks; there have been lots of people who tried to face up for what they imagine in and weren’t actually heard. These are troublesome conversations that aren’t going to go away, whether or not or not we play the nationwide anthem. We’re simply glad we’re having this dialog out of alternative, not due to some tragedy that ignited the dialog.”
The NBA’s rulebook requires gamers to face in the course of the nationwide anthem, however Silver has declined to implement that rule, notably as kneeling in the course of the anthem turned a strategy to protest social injustice in recent times.
The overwhelming majority of NBA gamers and lots of coaches kneeled in the course of the nationwide anthem in the course of the NBA’s restart final summer time in Orlando, Florida, when the league integrated messaging supporting the Black Lives Matter motion and different social justice causes within the court docket design and different methods.
In a June interview on ESPN’s Exterior the Traces, Cuban expressed support for players kneeling in the course of the nationwide anthem as a type of protest.
“In the event that they had been taking a knee they usually had been being respectful, I would be pleased with them. Hopefully I would be part of them,” Cuban mentioned.
Cuban added then that he hoped the league would “enable gamers to do what’s of their coronary heart.”
The Related Press contributed to this report.