The National Basketball Association will start requiring teams to play the national anthem before the tipoff of every game, an NBA official said in a statement.
The Mavericks have not played the national anthem at any home games this season.
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“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,” NBA Chief Communications Officer Mike Bass stated.
The Mavericks, who play at home against the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night, are expected to comply with the league mandate.
“We respect and always have respected the passion people have for the anthem and our country. I have always stood for the anthem with the hand over my heart — no matter where I hear it played. But we also hear the voices of those who do not feel the anthem represents them. We feel they also need to be respected and heard, because they have not been heard,” Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said in a statement. “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.”
“The Star-Spangled Banner” has become a flashpoint in recent years. The debate began with athletes kneeling during the anthem to raise awareness for social justice causes, including opposition to racism and police brutality. Critics of the protests, including former President Donald Trump, said kneeling during the anthem was disrespectful.
The league’s announcement appears to be a reversal from its initial response on Tuesday in which NBA spokesman Tim Frank told the Associated Press, “Under the unique circumstances of this season, teams are permitted to run their pregame operations as they see fit.”
Sources: USA Today, Reuters, and ESPN; Photo: tallbasket.net