Hours after Mark Cuban confirmed that the Dallas Mavericks no longer played the National Anthem during their home games, the NBA released a statement saying that all teams have to play the song before tipoff.
“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 Chief Communications Officer Mike Bass said in the statement.
After the league’s announcement was released, Cuban told the New York Times that his organization would comply, starting with Wednesday night’s game against the Atlanta Hawks. The Mavericks owner then released his own statement.
“We respect and always have respected the passion people have for the anthem and our country,” he said. “But we also loudly hear the voices of those who feel that the anthem does not represent them. We feel that their voices need to be respected and heard, because they have not been.”
Cuban continued, “Going forward, our hope is that people will take the same passion they have for this issue and apply the same amount of energy to listen to those who feel differently from them. Only then we can move forward and have courageous conversations that move this country forward and find what unites us.”
Several members of the NBA community took to social media to commend Cuban for his stance against the National Anthem. Stan Van Gundy, head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans, tweeted, “This should happen everywhere. If you think the anthem needs to be played before sporting events, then play it before every movie, concert, church service and the start of every work day at every business. What good reason is there to play the anthem before a game?”
NBA player Tobias Harris agreed with Gundy’s comments and thanked Cuban for “taking the first step.”