Today, the NBA released a statement that will require all teams to play the National Anthem before home games. NBA Chief Communications Officer Mike Bass broke the news about this earlier today. He cited “keeping with longstanding league policy,” as the reason. The league clarified this policy as the prospect of fans returning to the bleachers becomes more and more realistic.
This statement and clarification came out just one day after Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, explained his decision not to play the patriotic song. Cuban made this decision in November and has refrained from playing the “Star-Spangled Banner” throughout the whole season.
Cuban also clarified that he made the decision not “because [the players] don’t love the U.S., but because many feel that the anthem doesn’t represent them, and they want to continue the discussion of how to represent people from all communities when honoring the U.S. at the game.”
Mark Cuban Responds to the NBA Decision
Following the NBA’s announcement, however, Cuban claims to be okay with the league’s decision. He announced today that he will resume playing the National Anthem tonight in their home game against the Atlanta Hawks.
“We respect and always have respected the passion people have for the National Anthem and our country,” Cuban released in a statement. “I have always stood for the anthem with the hand over my heart– no matter where I hear it played. But we also hear the voices of those who do not feel the anthem represents them. We feel they also need to be respected and heard because they have not been heard.”
This, of course, regards the countless athletes across sports who have spoken out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and causes for social justice in general.
“The hope is that those who feel passionate about the National Anthem being played will be just as passionate in listening to those who do not feel it represents them.”
The National Anthem Protests
For the last five years or so, the National Anthem has caused controversy across the sports world. Starting with Colin Kaepernick in 2016, many professional athletes elected to kneel for the National Anthem as a way to protest racial injustice in America. The decision started in the NFL, however, now it has crossed over to the NBA, the MLB, and several others.
Commissioners of these leagues struggled for a long time to find a policy that caters to everyone’s desires. The NFL rulebook previously stated that all will stand with helmets off during the National Anthem. After Kaepernick’s movement grew traction, the NFL adjusted their rules, allowing for players to stay in the locker room during the anthem in protest.