On the heels of Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban confirming that he'd instructed his team not to play the National Anthem before home games, the NBA has swiftly come out to put a halt to the move.
Cuban's decision, having reportedly been quietly rolled out before the preseason, was only just reported by ESPN on Tuesday, despite the Dallas-based team having declined to play the anthem before all 13 preseason and regular season home games so far this year. Cuban, who has supported players kneeling during the National Anthem in the past, confirmed to ESPN that he'd made the call last year after consulting with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, but declined to comment further.
But after immediately catching backlash on social media, the National Basketball Association is now stating that all teams will now be required to play the National Anthem before each game.
"With NBA teams not in the process of welcoming fans back into their arenas, all teams will play the national anthem in keeping with longstanding league policy," the NBA announced in a statement issued by Chief Communications Officer Mike Bass.
Full statement from the NBA on mandating all teams to play the national anthem: pic.twitter.com/VeCIxLCpew— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) February 10, 2021
Of course, it's also longstanding league policy to require that all players stand during the anthem, a rule that has gone unenforced as many players and coaches have begun kneeling with the anthem to bring attention to alleged racial inequality.