Dallas Mavericks’ Mark Cuban finally speaks out about his decision not to play the National Anthem at NBA games.
On Tuesday, Mark Cuban told ESPN that he made the decision to stop playing the National Anthem before Mavericks games after speaking with NBA commissioner Adam Silver. The anthem was not played prior to any of Dallas’s 13 preseason games.
By Wednesday, the NBA released a statement regarding Mark Cuban’s decision, saying that “all teams will play the national anthem,” which correlates with the sports long-standing policy.
Mark Cuban spoke on ESPN’s talk show, The Jump on Wednesday, stating that he has no problem with the National Anthem. In addition, Cuban says that many felt like the tradition “did not fully represent them” after speaking to community members.
“We’re always talking to our community. That’s something [Mavericks CEO Cynthia Marshall] stands for and is very insistent upon and has become a core part of who we are at the Dallas Mavericks,” Mark Cuban said. “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. So we’ve had a lot of conversations about whether or not we should play the anthem.”
Mark Cuban “Did Not Cancel the National Anthem”
Mark Cuban, the Dallas Mavericks owner since 2000, also said that he knew there would be backlash for the decision. However, he urges that the organization didn’t “cancel the national anthem.”
“And so during the first preseason game, we decided to not play it and just see what the response was, knowing that we were going to have ongoing conversations about it. We didn’t make any decision to never play the national anthem then. That wasn’t the case at all. We didn’t cancel the national anthem. We still had our flag flying proud up on the wall at the American Airlines Center, and everybody had the opportunity to address it and pray to it or salute to it or whatever their feelings are.”
Mark Cuban also told ESPN that the decision was not permanent. He figured the anthem would be played again once fans could attend.
“There was never any final decision that was made that we would not play the anthem.”
However, after the announcement from the NBA, Cuban said they would start playing the National Anthem. In last night’s game against the Atlanta Hawks, an instrumental version of the anthem was played.
“We respect and always have respected the passion people have for the anthem and our country,” Cuban said. “But we also loudly hear the voices of those who feel that the anthem does not represent them. We feel that their voices need to be respected and heard because they have not been. Our hope is that going forward, 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. Then we can move forward and have courageous conversations that move this country forward and find what unites us.”
While Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle said it was over his head, others felt differently. Some players felt as though Mark Cuban was sticking up for them. Point guard Jalen Brunson and center Willie Cauley-Stein voiced their appreciation for Cubans “human” empathy.
“One thing I’ll say about Mark is he’s not scared of what’s being talked about,” Cauley-Stein said. “It’s not just a business to him. When you get to this level, it’s such a business. And when you’ve got a guy that shows his full character, and he’s not being a businessman, and he’s like human. That’s big-time for a player to go through.”
Texas government officials, like Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, plan to introduce a bill that will require that the National Anthem be played at all events that receive public funding.