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Dallas Mavericks Defend Not Playing National Anthem as NBA Orders All Teams to Play It

The team clarified their reasons for not playing the song before games but will resume doing so

With the Dallas Mavericks set to resume playing the national anthem after the NBA declared all teams will do so with fans now allowed into some arenas, the team says it hopes an awareness remains for “those who feel that the anthem does not represent them.”

The Mavericks had not played the national anthem before games since the beginning of this season. Owner Mark Cuban said Wednesday the team would do so going forward.

“We respect and always have respected the passion people have for the anthem and our country,” the Mavericks said Wednesday in a statement. “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.”

Reports surfaced Tuesday the Mavericks had been skipping the national anthem and, according to The Athletic, Cuban confirmed the decision had been his. The NBA then issued a statement Wednesday affirming teams would play the anthem before games at all arenas, citing “longstanding league policy” and with “teams now in the process of welcoming fans back into their arenas.”

“Going forward,” the Mavericks’ statement said, “our hope is that 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. Only then we can move forward and have courageous conversations that move this country forward and find what unites us.”

According to ESPN, Cuban had consulted with NBA commissioner Adam Silver prior to the decision to not play the anthem. There was no public announcement of the change; however, the anthem hadn’t been played before any of the 13 games the Mavericks have played.

Cuban has previously expressed support for athletes who kneel during the national anthem in protest of police violence and racial injustice.