It appears that the world of basketball is heading toward a controversy regarding the national anthem. Yesterday, it was revealed that Mark Cuban had moved to stop playing the national anthem before Dallas Mavericks home games. Hours later, it appears that the NBA has pushed back against the decision. Shams Charania of The Athletic has reported that NBA Communications Officer Mike Bass issued an official statement regarding the matter.
“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," Bass reportedly told Charania.
After hearing the news, members of the NBA community questioned why the league would push back against Cuban's move. This summer, the league declined to enforce its rule requiring players to stand for the national anthem. Now, it appears that the league is not willing to go all the way and stop playing the anthem before games.
"The NBA is having an increasingly embarrassing few weeks. The league completely handed back that elevated place it held at the start of the pandemic," DeAntae Prince of the Chicago Tribune tweeted.
"The NBA continues to shoot itself in the foot," Nekias Duncan of Basketball News added.
Those close to the league report that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has elected to enforce the national anthem policy in order to assert a sort of power over the owners. Adam Wojnarowski hinted that Silver may not be willing to let individuals make this decision, but would rather the 30 team owners make a collective decision.
"Once fans were increasingly back in arenas, including in Dallas, there was little chance Adam Silver would let Mavs continue without playing anthem. Maybe there’s a collective conversation in NBA or sports to be had on issue, but Silver wasn’t letting one team make that decision," he tweeted.
At this time, it doesn't appear that Cuban or the Mavericks will push back against the league's decision. Shortly after Mike Bass issued a statement, the Mavericks did the same.
“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 Mavericks will play Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks tonight on ESPN at 7:30 p.m. ET.
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