Written by Francis Scott Key, the “Star-Spangled Banner” became the national anthem of the United States in 1931 after being recognized as one of the country’s most popular patriotic songs for over a century.
The national anthem has become a patriotic ritual in sports, as it is played before most – if not all – professional and even non-professional games.
But, the Dallas Mavericks haven’t played the anthem during home games all season, and don’t plan to do so moving forward.
The Mavericks have not played the anthem during any of their first 13 preseason and regular season home games, and team owner Mark Cuban confirmed that he directed the team to stop for good.
This breaks a universal practice for professional sports, as they are the first American professional sports team to make this call.
But this is not all new.
Cuban’s move comes after heaps of athletes followed the lead of former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, kneeling in a very controversial protest during the national anthem.
The NBA has largely supported players who participated in the protest, tied to Black Lives Matter, and though there is a rule players must stand for the anthem, the NBA has declined to enforce it in recent years, the Washington Post reports.
In the month following the Capitol riot, many NBA teams made the decision to take a knee during the anthem. The Mavericks were one of them.
Cuban has previously expressed support for players kneeling.
In June, he told ESPN: “If they were taking a knee and being respectful, I’d be proud of them. Hopefully I’d join them.”
In July, he tweeted: “The national anthem police in this country are out of control. If you want to complain, complain to your boss and ask why they don’t play the national anthem every day before you start work.”
But it’s totally different. The national anthem isn’t tradition in all workplaces. It is, however, tradition in sports. It is a way for the country to come together, patriotically, to collectively enjoy one of the most popular American pastimes.
Leo Terrell shared his discontent in a tweet.
“Makes me sick to my stomach,” he said. “Totally disrespectful and un-American.”
Makes Me Sick to my Stomach. Totally Disrespectful and UnAmerican!!!!!Mavericks become first NBA team to cease playing national anthem before games – CBS Sports https://t.co/JwdXiXqoPU
— TheLeoTerrell (@TheLeoTerrell) February 10, 2021