The NBA confirmed that all teams are required to play the national anthem one day after the Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said he was going to stop the tradition.
Yesterday, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said the national anthem would not be played before the Mavericks' home games.
"The Dallas Mavericks have ceased playing the national anthem before home games this season and do not plan to play it moving forward, a decision made by owner Mark Cuban that he confirmed to The Athletic on Monday evening," reported The Athletic.
"It was my decision, and I made it in November," Cuban told The New York Times.
NBA spokesman Tim Frank clarified the rules to The Associated Press: "Under the unique circumstances of this season, teams are permitted to run their pregame operations as they see fit," Frank said.
Today, however, the NBA released an official statement reiterating that all teams would be required to play the anthem.
"With NBA teams now in the process of welcoming fans back into their arenas, all NBA teams will play the national anthem in keeping with longstanding league policy," NBA chief communications officer Mike Bass said Wednesday afternoon in a statement.
Cuban immediately responded to NBA's statement with a news release reiterating that he and his organization "hear the voices of those who feel that the anthem does not represent them."
Fox News reports that over the summer, Cuban got into a social media spat with a few people over Mavericks players kneeling for the national anthem. He tweeted "bye" at radio host Mark Davis after he threatened to stop watching if players knelt during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner."
According to The Hill, Cuban then added: "If you want to complain, complain to your boss and ask why they don't play the National Anthem every day before you start work."
That tweet has since been deleted.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx.), then put himself into the middle of it, adding: "NBA is telling everyone who stands for the flag, who honors our cops and our veterans, to ‘piss off’? In Texas, no less?"
Cruz and Cuban then got into it over the league’s relationship with China.
Cuban has been a supporter of players exercising their First Amendment rights to protest and of them doing so during the national anthem in recent years.
WNBA players raised the issue over the summer about why the national anthem is even played before games to begin with. Major League Soccer didn't play the anthem when they returned initially because there were no fans in the stands.
Mark Clague, an expert on the national anthem, told NPR in 2018 that "The Star-Spangled Banner" was first played at a sporting event in Brooklyn, N.Y., on May 15, 1862. The song meshed with the dedication of a new baseball field in the New York City borough, he said.
"They hire a band because it's a big celebration," he told NPR at the time. "When you have live music in 1862, during the Civil War, you're going to play patriotic songs. So they play 'The Star-Spangled Banner,' sort of coincidentally. It's not part of a ritual; [it's] not played to start the game."
The anthem was played again during the 1918 World Series and because of the crowd’s reaction, the song stuck throughout all four major North American sports.