It looks like the NBA will not back Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban‘s recent request to ax the national anthem at future home games, according to a recent statement by the organization.
“With NBA teams now in the process of welcoming fans back into their arenas, all teams will play the national anthem in keeping with longstanding league policy,” a Wednesday statement from NBA Chief Communications Officer Mike Bass reads.
Bass’ statement goes along with the NBA’s decades-long policy which requires players to stand while the anthem is played.
The NBA says in a statement that the national anthem will be played by all teams “in keeping with long-standing league policy.” pic.twitter.com/znvBW41lfT
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) February 10, 2021
Prior to the NBA’s announcement, teams were allowed to run pregame protocols as they desired, but now the league is issuing a strict reversal.
According to The New York Times, Cuban said his franchise was “good with” the directive from the NBA.
The Mavericks will comply with the policy and play the national anthem tonight before playing host to Atlanta at American Airlines Center, league sources say
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) February 10, 2021
On Tuesday Cuban confirmed he requested the song no longer be played ahead of home games at the start of the season in a brief statement to The New York Times.
“It was my decision, and I made it in November,” Cuban said.
Social media users were waiting to see how it would all play out prior to the Wednesday matchup between the Mavericks and the Atlanta Hawks.
Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks will resume playing the Anthem tonight vs. Atlanta. Statement from Cuban, in part: “The hope is that those who feel passionate about the anthem being played will be just as passionate in listening to those who do not feel it represents them.” pic.twitter.com/XnXpd8ThlW
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 10, 2021
The 2019-2020 NBA season included a series of small and large demonstrations regarding the ongoing racial violence against Black community members in America. The national anthem remains a point of contention, primarily for those who rage against the Black Lives Matter movement. For many athletes, containing the silent protest began by former NFL player Colin Kaepernick in 2016 remained crucial in order to keep the conversation on justice and equity. Protests were compounded with a pandemic that has disproportionately affected Black people, who make up a large percentage of NBA players.
In December, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told the Times that enforcing the need for players to participate in the anthem would be eased due to the current environment.
“I recognize that this is a very emotional issue on both sides of the equation in America right now, and I think it calls for real engagement rather than rule enforcement,” Silver said in December.
Now that seems to have taken a back seat.