The NBA Dallas Mavericks became the first U.S. professional sports team to stop prelude to the national anthem.
Owner Mark Cuban confirmed to Tim Cato to TheAthletic.com that the team will not have an anthem in any of the 13 home games in the preseason and regular season this season. Cuba refused to elaborate or explain.
The Mavericks did not make public the decision to cancel the national anthem, and TheAthletic.com apparently became the first media organization to notice it on Monday night. This raises the question of why sports teams feel comfortable playing the prelude to the national anthem and triggers a debate about whether it should.
An NBA spokesman told the Soldier that “under the unique circumstances of this season, teams can afford to see the preliminary games as good.”
NBA rules require players to stand during the anthem, but the league has not done so in recent years, allowing players to kneel to protest against social injustice.
So care must be taken to see if other professional sports teams – or leagues – are now following the Mavericks ’example in discarding the prelude to the national anthem.