Mark Cuban, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks, probably knew there would be social media blowback on his decision to stop playing the national anthem before his team’s home games.
“It was my decision, and I made it in November,” Mark Cuban told the media this week.
The NBA, for the first time in four decades, allowed teams to decide this season if they wanted to play the national anthem. before games. The majority of teams aren’t even allowing fans in the arenas because of pandemic restrictions. In previous years, the NBA required the anthem and that players stand at attention when it’s played.
But without fans, is there a need for an anthem?
The Mavericks just started allowing fans into American Airlines Center this week. They invited 1,500 front line healthcare workers to attend for free for games this week. That’s the crowd.
So, there’s not much of a reason for pre-game pomp. In addition, the NBA lifted its anthem restrictions last summer when teams restarted their seasons. They all played at the Walt Disney World complex in Orlando, Fla. That allowed for players, personnel and media to live and work in a Covid-free area. Players were allowed to kneel if they wanted to support the Black Lives Matter movement.
“I recognize that this is a very emotional issue on both sides of the equation in America right now,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver told reporters in December. “And I think it calls for real engagement rather than rule enforcement.”
Mark Cuban was supportive of players kneeling. Cuban, a host of the reality show “Shark Tank,” doesn’t shy away from controversy. He told ESPN last summer that if players were taking a knee and being respectful,
“I’d be proud of them.” Cuban also said that he hoped he would “join them.”
Mark Cuban Got Some Blowback And Support
So, you can expect that there was push back.
Anthony White, the vice president of the Fort Worth Police Officer’s Association, slammed Cuban’s decision.
He tweeted: “Get woke, go broke! I won’t spend another cent on @dallasmavs. @mcuban confirms Mavericks will no longer play National Anthem at home games.” It wasn’t clear if White attended Mavericks games before the Covid restrictions.
Megyn Kelly, the former Fox News personality, tweeted: “Fans who still choose to attend should put their hands on their hearts and just start singing it. Now that would be a moment.”
New Orleans Pelicans coach Stan Van Gundy supported Cuban’s decision. He tweeted: “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?”
Fox Sports analyst Shannon Sharpe also agreed with Cuban. Sharpe said: “I’m fine with the decision. We have to stop with this notion that gestures and symbols are a sign of patriotism. Actions and deeds make you a patriot. Sporting events will be just fine.
Sharpe continued: “Flying the flag over your house doesn’t make you a patriot. Drinking Budweiser doesn’t make you a patriot. Storming the Capitol doesn’t make you a Patriot.”