The Dallas Mavericks ceased playing the national anthem before games at the beginning of this season, and don’t plan to resume the practice.
According to The Athletic, the NBA team’s owner Mark Cuban confirmed that he made the decision, though he declined requests to discuss what prompted the decision.
According to ESPN, Cuban consulted with NBA commissioner Adam Silver prior to the decision. There was no public announcement of the change; however, the anthem hasn’t been played before any of the 13 games the Mavericks have played this current season.
Back in December, Silver signaled the league wouldn’t be strictly enforcing its rules requiring players to stand during the anthem, saying in a press conference: “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.”
Cuban has previously expressed support for athletes who kneel during the national anthem in protest of police violence and racial injustice. “Whether it’s holding their arm up in the air, whether it’s taking a knee, whatever it is, I don’t think this is an issue of respect or disrespect to the flag or to the anthem or to our country. I think this is more a reflection of our players’ commitment to this country and the fact that it’s so important to them that they’re willing to say what’s in their heart and do what they think is right,” Cuban said in June.