DALLAS - Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was overseeing the decision to no longer play the national anthem before the team's home games at the American Airlines Center - but now the league has intervened, and the established policy will remain in place.
A part of a statement from Cuban on his acceptance on the league's decision to arrange for the anthem to continue to a pregame staple: “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.”
The Mavericks played their first 10 regular-season home games at the AAC without fans. The club hosted fans for the first time in Monday's 127-122 win over Minnesota; the Luka Doncic-led Mavs allowed 1,500 vaccinated essential workers to attend games for free, the same number expected to attend Wednesday's 6:30 p.m. tip against the visiting Atlanta Hawks.
Earlier on Wednesday, an NBA spokesman noted that teams are "permitted to run their pregame operations as they see fit."
But the league has reconsidered this position, saying in a release, “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.”
Cuban was outspoken in his retort to critics of NBA players and coaches kneeling during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the end of the 2019-20 season in the Florida "bubble.''
Mavs coach Rick Carlisle, the president of the league's coaches association, was and continues to be vocal in his support of the players' position.
Last summer, Cuban made his thoughts clear on the criticism of other people's choices in this area, saying that he would kneel along with players and coaches during the anthem.
He tweeted, '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.''
But on Wednesday afternoon, Cuban is taking a less combative approach, saying in his statement, "The hope is that those who feel passionate about the anthem will be just as passionate in listening to those who do not feel it represents them.
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