1. Thank you, Mark Cuban.
Over the years, I’ve written a handful of columns (last June and in 2018, for example) advocating for sports to stop playing the national anthem before games. There’s no reason other than “tradition” to play the anthem at sporting events. None. Zilch. Zippo. The playing of the anthem is now a culture war talking point more than anything.
And Cuban proved this by never announcing his decision that the Mavericks would no longer play the anthem before games. He never sought publicity for his move. He just did it. And by doing it that way, Cuban showed the anthem became a thing we just randomly do and nothing more. It’s not important. That’s why nobody even noticed the Mavs stopped playing it until this tweet was sent Tuesday.
Again, the national anthem was not played before 13 Mavericks home games, and not a soul noticed until Tuesday.
Now the question is: Will Cuban stay strong and keep the policy in place, or will he get overwhelmed by social media blowback and reverse course?
If there’s any owner in sports who is smart enough to understand Twitter should be ignored, it’s Cuban.
Social media will go wild about this for a day or two, and then it will die down. The topic will get some run on Fox News for a day or two, and then they’ll return to bashing Joe Biden.
All Cuban has to do is weather the storm for a few days and people will go back to not caring about the playing of the national anthem. I wish I could believe Cuban will start a trend with this, but I’d be stunned if another owner in sports had the guts to deal with the fallout from ditching the anthem. For now, Cuban will have to settle for being a pioneer.
Some of you who are reading this right now are so angry and you’re getting ready to fire off a tweet or an email telling me I’m not a patriot, that the USA rules, blah, blah, blah. Before you do that, I will ask you one more time: Besides tradition, give me a reason why the national anthem is played before each and every sporting event?
2. We told you Tuesday that the Super Bowl took a major ratings hit. Of course, the game still drew more than 96 million viewers. Overall, Super Bowl viewership was down 9% from the previous year. If you think that sounds bad, just take a look, via Sports Media Watch, at how other sporting events dropped from a year ago.
• College Football Championship (-27%)
• World Series (-30%)
• NBA Finals (-49%)
• Final round of the Masters (-58%)
• Stanley Cup Final (-61%).
Let's not cry a river for the NFL just yet.
3. "That was exactly what we needed to complete the night. Because the night was going so smooth. We were scoring. Our defense was dominating. Everyone was playing super well. We're up by a lot and all of a sudden, here comes a streaker. I was on the sideline like, 'YES, this is what we needed. This streaker is amazing.' It was entertainment. The slide into the end zone was incredible. He had a couple of jukes, too. I thought he was gonna pull down his pants, and I was like, 'No man, you're going too far with this,' and then he had a thong on, like a thong bathing suit type thing, like a one piece. This guy was prepared. He was ready for the moment." — Rob Gronkowski talking about the Super Bowl streaker on Tuesday night's Late Late Show With James Corden.
4. This is a very, very cool video. Despite the Bucs dominating the Chiefs in the Super Bowl, Tampa Bay players were left in awe by Patrick Mahomes.
5. That's a lot of guac.
6. Recent SI Media Podcast guests include Erin Andrews, Kyle Brandt, Roman Reigns, Troy Aikman and Andrew Siciliano. A new episode with The Ringer's Kevin Clark will drop later this afternoon.
7. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: Is it bad that I'm gonna try this out this weekend?
Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on Apple, Spotify or Stitcher. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram.