The National Anthem will be required at ball games in Texas. Lawmakers in the state passed a bill requiring the Star Spangled Banner at professional sporting events.
Passed on Tuesday (May 25), the Texas bill will penalize any professional sports teams that choose not to play the anthem at their games. According to Fox News, the bill will require professional sports teams to enter a written agreement. They will affirm to the state government they will play the anthem.
There will be penalties for teams and organizations that don’t comply. For instance, they could lose their state and local subsidies. This could also affect their future as well. Sports organizations may also be prevented from striking other contracts in Texas.
Currently, the bill passed both the house and senate in the state. In the Texas House of Representatives, it was approved in a majority 110- 34 vote. Now, it’s up to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to approve the bill. But he’s expected to sign the National Anthem bill into law.
Texas Approves a National Anthem Bill
Texas decided to introduce the bill, dubbed the “Star-Spangled Banner Protection Act” in response to the Dallas Mavericks. During the pandemic, the Mavericks decided to quit playing the National Anthem at their home games. As a result, Texas lawmakers condemned the team as unpatriotic.
Additionally, NBA affirmed that teams were required to play the song at home games. But Mavericks own Mark Cuban said he came to the decision after talking with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.
“In listening to the community, there were quite a few people who voiced their concerns, really their fears that the National Anthem did not fully represent them, that their voices were not being heard,” Cuban said at the time.
Since the idea of the bill was introduced, it’s garnered both support and criticism from state politicians. For instance, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick supports the bill.
“Texans are tired of sports teams that pander, insulting our National Anthem and the men and women who died fighting for our flag,” Patrick said in a statement in April. “The passage of SB 4 will ensure Texans can count on hearing the Star Spangled Banner at major sports events throughout the state that are played in venues that taxpayers support. We must always remember that America is the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
Meanwhile, several Democrats in the state criticized the bill as unconstitutional, violating the First Amendment.
“Once again, we’re carrying legislation that is openly and aggressively unconstitutional,” Democratic State Rep. Gene Wu said, according to the Houston Chronicle.