The United States national anthem The Star-Spangled Banner will no longer be played before Dallas Mavericks home games in the NBA.
Team owner Mark Cuban told ESPN that he made his decision after consulting with NBA commissioner Adam Silver – and while NBA rules require players to stand for the playing of the anthem – Silver has not enforced that regulation.
NBA players were particularly outspoken about using the anthem as a time for protest last summer in the midst of social unrest following the killing of George Floyd.
The Mavericks have played at the American Airlines Center 13 times between preseason and regular-season games for the 2020-21 campaign, and The Star-Spangled Banner did not precede any of the contests.
Their 127-122 win over the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday marked the first time that fans were present – albeit in limited numbers.
Silver said in December regarding standing for the anthem: “I recognise 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 came out last year in favour of players taking a knee during the anthem.
He told ESPN in June 2020: “If they were taking a knee and they were being respectful, I’d be proud of them. Hopefully I’d join them.”