The NBA is forcing all teams to play the National Anthem before games after Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban halted the tradition at the start of the 2020-21 season.
NBA Chief Communications Officer Mike Bass said in a statement on Wednesday (Feb. 10) that “with NBA teams now in the process of welcoming fans back into their arenas, all teams will play the national anthem in keeping with [the] longstanding league policy.”
Speaking with the New York Times on Tuesday (Feb. 9), Cuban said that he had made the decision for the Mavs to stop playing the “Star-Spangled Banner” in November.
According to The Athletic, Dallas is reportedly the only team in the NBA that has gone away with playing the anthem at home games for both their preseason and regular season games.
But for the team’s home game against the Atlanta Hawks on Feb. 10, a spokesperson confirmed to People that they would play the National Anthem. Cuban also issued out a statement responding to the decision for the team to resume the tradition, People reports.
“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,” he said. “We feel that their voices need to be respected and heard, because they have not been.”
Adding, “Going forward, our hope is that people will take the same passion they have for this issue and apply the same amount of energy to listen to those who feel differently from them. Only then we can move forward and have courageous conversations that move this country forward and find what unites us.”