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NBA Announces National Anthem Will Be Played by All Teams After Mavs' Decision

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 10, 2021

Players take a knee during the national anthem before Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Dallas Mavericks, Sunday, Aug. 23, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo via AP)
Kevin C. Cox/Associated Press

The NBA reiterated its position Wednesday that all 30 teams are expected to play the national anthem before games.

"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 spokesman Mike Bass said in a statement.

The statement comes after Dallas Mavericks team governor Mark Cuban told The Athletic the Mavs, who haven't been playing the anthem this season, did not plan on playing "The Star-Spangled Banner" before home games going forward.

Cuban provided a follow-up after the NBA's announcement:

Shams Charania @ShamsCharania

Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks will resume playing the Anthem tonight vs. Atlanta. Statement from Cuban, in part: “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.” https://t.co/XnXpd8ThlW

The anthem has long been a staple at sporting events at the pro level and below. However, many have questioned the utility of the tradition as more athletes chose to protest as the anthem played.

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sparked the movement, telling NFL Network's Steve Wyche in August 2016 he was no longer going to stand for "The Star-Spangled Banner" because he didn't want to "show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color."

Whereas the NFL ultimately didn't follow through on a policy that would've required all players and coaches to stand, the NBA rulebook states all players and coaches are to remain standing for the anthem. However, the NBA did not enforce the rule when the 2019-20 season restarted at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.

While the Mavericks' move was short-lived, it could open the door for wider conversations about whether the anthem should continue to part of the pregame process.

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