Mark Cuban decided before the start of the NBA season that the national anthem would not be played before Mavericks games, according to The Athletic.
So far, it has not been played before the franchise's 13 preseason and regular-season home games.
This is believed to be the first instance of a professional team getting rid of the U.S. national anthem from the pregame routine, according to The Athletic. Major League Soccer did not play the anthem during a tournament in 2020 in Orlando that did not have fans present, but teams have since started playing it before their home games.
Dallas reportedly stopped playing the national anthem before games "because many feel anthem doesn’t represent them," sources close to Mark Cuban told The Athletic's Shams Charania on Wednesday.
The Mavericks did not publicize this move, and even some team employees told The Athletic that they discovered the change on their own. Dallas has not released an official statement on the matter.
An NBA spokesperson told The Athletic on Tuesday that “under the unique circumstances of this season, teams are permitted to run their pregame operations as they see fit.”
The league rulebook does technically require players to stand during the anthem; however, it has not been enforced in recent years. Many professional and amateur athletes have chosen to kneel during the anthem as a form of protest against racial and social injustice and in support of Black Lives Matter.
Cuban supported his players when they kneeled during the national anthem in Orlando last season, saying to ESPN in July, "If they were taking a knee, and they were being respectful, I’d be proud of them. Hopefully, I’d join them.”
The owner then tweeted two days later, “The National Anthem Police in this country are out of control. If you want to complain, complain to your boss and ask why they don’t play the National Anthem every day before you start work.”