The Dallas Mavericks have announced that the franchise will not play the national anthem before home games any longer. The decision was made prior to the scene and the franchise has not played the "Star-Spangled Banner" before any of the team's home game. According to ESPN, no coaches, players or staff have commented on the change thus far.
Dallas Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban did not comment on the matter, but he reportedly consulted with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver before making the change. Previously, the NBA had mandated that players and coaches stand for the national anthem. However, Silver declined to enforce the rule when the league returned to play this summer in Orlando, Florida.
"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," Cuban said in December.
While Silver and the league declined to enforce the national anthem rule, players took the opportunity to kneel during the playing of the "Star-Spangled Banner." This is a decision that Cuban publicly supported.
"Whether it's holding their arm up in the air, whether it's taking a knee, whatever it is, I don't think this is an issue of respect or disrespect to the flag or to the anthem or to our country," Cuban said.
"I think this is more a reflection of our players' commitment to this country and the fact that it's so important to them that they're willing to say what's in their heart and do what they think is right."
This recent decision is a stark change from the era of former NBA Commissioner David Stern. In 1996, the league suspended Sacramento Kings Guard Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf indefinitely without pay because he refused to stand for the national anthem for religious reasons. Abdul-Rauf endured death threats and had his home burned to the ground. Twenty-five years later, Abdul-Rauf stands by his decision not to participate in the anthem proceedings, a decision that is now commonly accepted around the league.
“It’s priceless to know that I can go to sleep knowing that I stood to my principles,” he told The Undefeated.
“Whether I go broke, whether they take my life, whatever it is, I stood on principles. To me, that is worth more than wealth and fame.”
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