NBA clarifies anthem will be played by all teams amid Mavs drama
The NBA has quickly and proactively attempted to extinguish a potential public relations firestorm initially brought upon by the Dallas Mavericks by clarifying all league teams will play the national anthem before games going forward.
The announcement was made via statement from NBA spokesman Mike Bass, as shared by Tim Bontemps of ESPN.
The NBA says in a statement that the national anthem will be played by all teams “in keeping with long-standing league policy.” pic.twitter.com/znvBW41lfT— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) February 10, 2021
“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,” Bass’ statement read.
The decision by Mavericks owner Mark Cuban to confirm to Tim Cato of The Athletic that he has directed the team to not play “The Star-Spangled Banner” before home games at American Airlines Center presumably provided the impetus to the NBA making the announcement.
Shams Charania of The Athletic provided further clarification to Cuban’s directive on Wednesday.
Source close to Mark Cuban says decision to not play Anthem before Mavs games isn’t because they don’t love U.S., but because many feel anthem doesn’t represent them, and they want to continue discussion of how to represent people from all communities when honoring U.S. at game.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 10, 2021
Interestingly enough, the Mavericks have not been playing the anthem before games all season.
Cuban has since issued a statement, again via Charania, in which he states he will comply with the league’s directives concerning the anthem. The Mavs will begin to follow the NBA’s anthem policy beginning Wednesday night before a game against the Atlanta Hawks.
Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks will resume playing the Anthem tonight vs. Atlanta. Statement from Cuban, in part: “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.” pic.twitter.com/XnXpd8ThlW— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 10, 2021
The NBA clearly felt the need to get ahead of what almost certainly was going to become a polarizing issue for the league. It’s expected that with Cuban on board, no other team will likely push back against the NBA’s officially stated anthem policy, thereby snuffing out any risk of future controversy.