The NBA is requiring that all teams play the national anthem before games “in keeping with longstanding league policy,” just one day after Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told The Athletic the team decided not to play it at home games.
NBA Chief Communications Officer Mike Bass released a statement on Wednesday, just a day after Cuban said he had no plans to play the national anthem at any future home games.
“With NBA teams now in the process of welcoming back fans into their arenas, all teams will play the national anthem in keeping with longstanding league policy,” Bass said.
Cuban told The New York Times: “We are good with it.”
The Mavericks have not played the national anthem at any home games at American Airlines Center this season, a decision Cuban made back in November.
Sources close to Cuban told The Athletic earlier Wednesday that the decision wasn’t “because they don’t love U.S., but because many feel anthem doesn’t represent them, and they want to continue discussion of how to represent people from all communities when honoring U.S. at game.”
The league’s announcement appears to be a reversal from its initial response on Tuesday in which NBA spokesman Tim Frank told the Associated Press, “Under the unique circumstances of this season, teams are permitted to run their pregame operations as they see fit.”
“We respect and always have respect the passion people have for the anthem and our country,” the statement began. “I have always stood for the anthem with the hand over my heart – no matter where I hear it played.”
He continued: “But we also hear the voices of those who do not feel the anthem represents them. We feel they also need to be respected and heard, because they have not been heard. The hope is that those who feel passionate about the anthem being played will be just as passionate in listening to those who do not feel it represents them.”
The Mavs released a team statement on the issue as well.
It was not immediately clear what prompted the league’s reversal.