NBA thwarts Mark Cuban’s justified effort to discontinue playing the national anthem at Dallas Maverick’s games



Gage Skidmore (Flickr)

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban

Jackson Dungan, Reporter

As the United States stands divided as ever, the debate of kneeling during the National Anthem has reached a new height as the Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban, made the courageous decision to stop playing the anthem during home games.

Prior to the start of the NBA season, Cuban chose to discontinue the use of the National Anthem before home games. Cuban was a strong advocate for the team kneeling during the 2020 Playoff Bubble.

“If they were taking a knee, and they were being respectful, I’d be proud of them. Hopefully, I’d join them,” Cuban said.

The NBA took notice very quickly and released a statement on the cancellation of the anthem.

“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.”

Many fans view this contradictory to the image that the NBA presented at the 2020 playoffs where players were openly allowed to express their views on injustice by using terms or victim names on their jerseys and the Black Lives Matter Movement presented throughout the bubble.

How does a league that openly allows their players to fight for justice flip the switch and force them to be present for a song that misrepresents who they are?

We respect and always have respected the passion people have for the anthem and our country. 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 heard, because they have not been,” Cuban said.

“Going forward, our hope is that people will take the same passion they have for this issue and apply the same energy to listen to those who feel differently about them. Only then we can move forward and have courageous conversations that move this country forward.”

In a 2019 U.S. News report, data compiled from an independently researched government database found that from 2013-2019— more than 1,000 unarmed people died as a result of police harm, and, unarmed Black individuals, the data shows, who died as a result of police harm were represented as the larger share of any other racial group.

The research organization responsible for the data, Mapping Police Violence, compiled the research on deaths known to be caused by police—and the deaths are due to being shot, beaten, restrained, intentionally hit by a police vehicle, pepper sprayed, tasered or otherwise, by officers who were both on-or-off duty.

A 2021 investigation conducted by NPR also revealed that since 2015, police officers have fatally shot at least 135 unarmed Black men and women nationwide, and in court records that detailed the cases, at least 75% of the officers involved in the fatalities were white.

In many cases, the shootings were not the first for the officers—or, their last, the NPR investigation found, and the shootings went without legal consequences for the police officers.

Children of Black men and women have a 17% chance from birth of being incarcerated.

The national anthem is a symbol of pride, courage, and homage to the greatest country in the world— but we cannot realistically expect sports franchises, their athletes and fans who also reject the troubling statistics to exhibit patriotism when policing agencies and a legal system continue to cover up and ignore justice for Black victims.

What do Americans reflect upon during the playing of the national anthem at a sporting event?

A growing number of people accept a player’s right to kneel during the anthem according to a recent Washington Post  poll, and those players and fans who have seized the attention surrounding the national anthem in order to bring awareness to racial and social injustice—are correct to do so.