DALLAS — In a stunning move, the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks have “taken a stance” and quit the time-honored tradition of playing the national anthem before tipoff. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban confirmed to The Athletic that it was his decision to no longer play the national anthem prior to home games at American Airlines Center. The Mavericks haven’t played the national anthem prior to home games this season—and the team doesn’t plan on playing it for the foreseeable future.
The Mavericks have played 12 games at their home arena this season. And they haven’t played the national anthem in any of their 13 preseason games, as well as those 12 regular-season matchups, including Monday’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, which was the first game with a small number of fans in the stands, Fox reported.
Cuban and the Mavericks didn’t publicize the removal of the national anthem prior to games. But The Athletic reached out to the team after realizing that it wasn’t played before Monday’s matchup. A number of team employees noticed the removal of the anthem on their own, according to The Athletic. They also said that it was not announced or explained internally.
The Athletic reported that Cuban declined a request for further comment or explanation Monday evening. The Mavericks organization also declined comment Tuesday, per the website.
UPDATE: The NBA directs Mark Cuban to play the national anthem before each home game. Read more.