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The Mavericks Are No Longer Playing The National Anthem Before Their Games

Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks have decided to nix the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” before home games, according to a report by Tim Cato of The Athletic.

The decision, according to Cato, was made by Cuban, who confirmed that the Mavericks intentionally have not played the game before any of their home games this season and will not do so going forward. Further reporting from Cato indicated the decision was not announced internally ahead of time, and many Mavs staffers only found out about it by observing the song’s absence pregame themselves.

The NBA is allowing teams to manage pregame routines as they see fit this season while many games are conducted without fans and typical traditions are not observed, but as Cato reports, Cuban has long expressed criticism of the anthem and its use in sports, as well as support for players who protest during its playing.

Cato also notes that the Mavs are believed to be the first major American sports franchise to forego the playing of the American national anthem before games. Whether the NBA allows the practice continue remains to be seen, though commissioner Adam Silver did say last season that the controversy surrounding the anthem meant the league would strive for “real engagement rather than rule enforcement.”