The Dallas Mavericks have made the decision to no longer play the national anthem before homes games this season, according to a report released by The Athletic on Monday evening.
Team owner Mark Cuban confirmed the decision on Monday but declined a request for further comment or explanation. The Mavericks organization also declined to comment on the matter when asked earlier on Tuesday. None of the 13 home games during the preseason and regular-season have featured the anthem – including their first game with a limited audience on Monday when they hosted the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Mavericks did not publicize the removal and team employees only noticed after paying close attention, as the decision was never announced or explained internally. As far as the media knows, this is the first instance of a US professional sports team taking a stance and striking the anthem from the pre-game.
In his 21 years as majority owner of the Mavericks, Cuban has never been one to shy away from controversy – he has been fined over $1.5 million for his behavior and critical statements toward officials and the league in general. He has also been very outspoken in his criticism toward former President Donald Trump, though primarily for his financial positions than political leanings. There has been talk over the last 13 years about Cuban’s political ambitions; at one point, Cuban floated running for President in the 2020 election,