WRITTEN BY: Will Pembroke, Multimedia Show Manager
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban made the decision to stop playing the national anthem before Mavericks’ home games this month.
Cuban said that while he appreciates the anthem — and always stands with his hand over his heart while it is played — others in the Mavericks organization and across the country do not feel “The Star Spangled Banner” represents them.
The Mavericks hosted ten home games without playing the anthem, and they did not face any national media backlash. However, once the public recognized this alteration, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver reinforced the league’s policy of playing the anthem before every home game. This forced Cuban to reverse his previous decision.
Two sides have emerged since Cuban’s decision to stop playing the anthem.
One side, led primarily by conservative voices across the U.S., heavily criticized Cuban for his decision. They cited a lack of respect for the flag and what the anthem stands for. Another argument is that “The Star Spangled Banner” is a demonstration of national unity. Some added that it is important to play the anthem at large gatherings, such as sporting events, in an attempt to bring citizens closer together.
On the contrary, many liberals have argued that playing the national anthem before entertainment events is unfair to those who do not believe the anthem represents or includes them.
Hundreds of players across major U.S. sports leagues opt to peacefully protest racial injustice during the national anthem, citing their first amendment right to do so. Some, including Cuban in a since-deleted tweet, argue that the “National Anthem Police” in the U.S. have overstepped their bounds in forcing citizens to stand up for something they do not feel represents them.
Cuban is the first NBA owner who officially decided to stop playing the anthem before games. His decision has become a part of the national debate regarding the role of the national anthem in public gatherings.