The Dallas Mavericks haven’t played the United States national anthem before the start of their home games this season, per the direction of owner Mark Cuban. According to ESPN, the Mavs don’t have any plans to go back to the pregame tradition anytime soon.
Cuban’s Mavs squad is the first known North American professional sports team to abstain from playing the anthem before games, per The Athletic‘s Tim Cato.
Cuban reportedly went with his decision after consulting with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. Cuban declined to give any other comment aside from confirming this was all his decision.
Looking back in hindsight, Cuban previously shed light regarding the anthem back in June as his Mavs headed to the Orlando bubble for the league’s resumption:
— Outside The Lines (@OTLonESPN) June 18, 2020
Amid the change made by the Mavs, an NBA spokesperson shared to The Athletic that “under the unique circumstances of this season, teams are permitted to run their pregame operations as they see fit.”
In contrast, the league’s rulebook states that players are required to stand whenever the national anthem is being played. However, Silver decided to not enforce the rule as of late, especially during the league’s resumption in the Orlando bubble. He explained why:
“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,” Silver said back in December.
The Black Lives Matter movement was in full force over the summer, especially in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and the shooting of Jacob Blake at the hands of law enforcement. The latter nearly caused a season shutdown, but the NBA ultimately continued and players took part in plenty of social justice efforts, including kneeling for the anthem.