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Mark Cuban, Mavericks' National Anthem Situation, Explained

Basketball

The GIST: “drivers license” may be the hottest song right now, but “The Star Spangled Banner” is giving Olivia Rodrigo a run for her money.

February 11, 2021
Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

The spark: The Dallas Mavericks haven’t played the national anthem ahead of any game this season, and they did not publicize their decision until a reporter asked Mavs’ owner (and Shark Tank star) Mark Cuban about the lack of anthem playing on Monday.  

  • At the time, Cuban confirmed that the Mavs would not play the anthem, and since the league has allowed teams to adapt their pre-game operations this season, Cuban seemed well within his right to do so. 
  • He made this decision out of respect for his players, who are required to stand for the anthem but chose to kneel during last year’s playoffs. The Mavs are the only major-league team to take this stand (though the MLS temporarily eliminated the anthem altogether last season), and fans have responded pretty favorably to it.

The flame: But of course, not everyone is happy, and it’s caused a bit of a hoopla in the sports world. Just after the Dallas Stars gave their unprompted two cents (why though?), the NBA shut that loophole tighter than skin on a grape, announcing “all teams will play the national anthem in keeping with longstanding league policy.” 

  • Cuban then released his own statement, saying that the Mavs would reintroduce the anthem, but more importantly, Cuban highlighted why it’s still an issue and what he hopes to get out of this situation.
  • “Going forward, our hope is that people will take the same passion they have for this issue and apply the same amount of energy to listen to those who feel differently from them.” Well said, rare good-guy sports team owner