The National Basketball Association announced on Wednesday that all teams would play the national anthem before games.
The announcement marks an apparent rebuke of Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who decided he would not mandate the playing of the anthem before the team’s home games. The Mavericks have already played their first home games without the anthem, including their first home game with fans in the audience.
Full statement from the NBA on mandating all teams to play the national anthem: pic.twitter.com/VeCIxLCpew
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) February 10, 2021
“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 a statement.
The NBA has required players to stand for the national anthem since the 1980s, however the league initially decided in December not to enforce the rule, allowing for players to kneel during the anthem in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Movement.
Mavericks owner Cuban has been an outspoken supporter of the movement, which gained widespread exposure following the George Floyd protests and riots seen across the U.S. in the summer of 2020.
“It’s really a distributive movement across the country to try to end racism to bring awareness to social justice issues,” Cuban told journalist Megyn Kelly in October.