Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban went on ESPN’s Outside the Lines today where he was asked and addressed the topic of players protesting during the national anthem. The NBA rule book states that players are to “stand and line up in a dignified posture” during the anthem.
Hopefully we will be adaptive. Hopefully we will allow players to do what is in their heart. Whether it is holding up an arm in the air or taking a knee. I don’t think it is an issue of respect or disrespect to the flag or to the anthem or to our country. I think this is more of a reflection out our players commitment to this country. So, I’ll defer to Adam (Silver) on any final judgments… My hope is, we will let the players do exactly what they think is the right thing to do.
This is a welcome change from the last time the Mavericks addressed this topic, way back in 2017. Then, Cuban released a video through the Mavericks with a very weird “respect the flag” message that muddied the already horrible discourse around the national anthem demonstrations across all sports leagues. Quite simply, the video was not good and tone deaf.
After weeks of protests in cities across America against systematic racism and police violence, including NBA players voicing concerns about how to return to play during the movement, it’s a welcome sign to see Cuban adapting his stance. We’ll just have to wait and see if the NBA is flexible with its rules.