Editor’s note: This article has an update at the bottom about the NBA sending out a note on their rules about playing the anthem
Per Tim Cato of The Athletic, the Dallas Mavericks will not play the national anthem moving forward. They’ve also not played the anthem at any of the previous home games, including pre-season, this year.
As is noted in the article (which, you should just get The Athletic subscription, they have some incredible coverage), it’s not something that was publicized by Dallas Maverick owner Mark Cuban, nor did he or the Mavericks respond to request for comment, outside of Cuban confirming the anthem won’t be played anymore. That’s rare.
It seems those at the game noticed this change organically as the decision was not announced to arena employees or team officials. Per Cato’s reporting, it seems the Mavericks are the first American sports team to enact this change in recent years.
As someone who primarily watches games through NBA League Pass, the anthem getting played before Mavericks games is not something that’s crossed my mind because I rarely saw it prior. As Cato notes in the post, owner Mark Cuban has been very supportive of the players and their right to protest in any manner, including kneeling during the anthem when it’s been played.
Some @dallasmavs history/context as folks now realize they have not been and apparently will not be playing the National Athem before games:— Brad Townsend (@townbrad) February 10, 2021
During the franchise’s first 16 seasons, it played God Bless America before games rather than the National Anthem. This is not a first.
This decision, done without fanfare or official confirmation, has already stirred passions and some anger, judging by the comments to Cato’s post and the subsequent aggregation. As always the question which occurs to me is does this decision stir within you the same level of rage that any daily injustice does in our country? If not, why not?
This is, perhaps, a historically significant move in American sports. It furthers the dialogue asking why we do things, beyond the simple phrase of “it’s tradition”. We’ll be monitoring comments closely the next several days. I’m closing the comments on this post, but in game threads, recaps, and other posts we may opt to remove any discussion about this topic. We at Mavs Moneyball have no bearing on Cuban’s decision, but we do support it.
Update: The NBA says “Not so fast my friends”