Dallas Mavericks stop playing national anthem before home games

Minnesota Timberwolves v Dallas Mavericks
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The NBA’s Dallas Mavericks have become the first U.S. pro sports team to stop playing the national anthem pregame.

Owner Mark Cuban confirmed to Tim Cato of TheAthletic.com that none of team’s 13 preseason and regular-season home games this season have featured the anthem. Cuban declined to elaborate or explain.

The Mavericks did not publicize the decision to cease playing the national anthem and TheAthletic.com apparently became the first media organization to notice Monday night. That raises a question about why sports teams feel compelled to play the national anthem pregame and opens a debate about whether they should.

An NBA spokesperson told Cato that “under the unique circumstances of this season, teams are permitted to run their pregame operations as they see fit.”

The NBA’s rules require players to stand during the anthem, but the league has not enforced it in recent years, allowing players to kneel in protest of social injustice.

So it bears watching whether other professional sports teams — or leagues — now follow the Mavericks’ lead in dropping the national anthem pregame.

55 responses to “Dallas Mavericks stop playing national anthem before home games

  1. “Cuban declined to elaborate or explain.”

    Such cowardice. Loves to talk big about others’ failures in the public spotlight and then hides from his own decision.

  2. Good move. Why on earth do we need to play the freakin national anthem before sporting events? This isn’t the Olympics.

  3. This was probably a tradition that started with the Olympic games where countries, not states or cities were represented.

    Still, it is a nice gesture to salute the country that is providing you with the freedom to attend and participate in these trifles.

    But, this is why we can’t have nice things.

  4. As a proud American, I have to actually firmly agree with the notion that there is no requirement to play the National Anthem before games. I personally like the practice, but it’s really more an arbitrary tradition than anything else. However, as a member of society and student of history, I have to grimace at the reason behind this move by the Mavericks…which is the general decline in respect and ability to empathize with others, along with a rise of self-centered thinking. It used to be that people could show respect even to their enemies, and now we can’t put aside our differences and troubles for a basic sign of respect for the nation that, warts and all, has given us more freedoms and rights than ever have been enjoyed in human history. While society’s tremendous improvements do not warrant an end to pushing for even better, it’s troubling that people lack the perspective to understand how much better off the lives of each person are in this country, relative to what 99%+ of humans have experienced across history. To too many people, their troubles are the worst troubles and that’s that. How sad.

  5. Ughhhh. Lamest thing ever. Thats half the reason i attend live sporting events. Gives me goosebumps everytime.

  6. We shouldn’t play it unless it is title games or special occasions. That was how we used to do this before WWII. The anthem is nothing more than a way to sell war to the masses. Since the USA has started playing the anthem before games our country has been at war almost the entire time.

  7. Good for the Mavs! I would be at peace if the national anthem is eliminated from all sporting events–pro and amateur–except for Olympic events. Playing it at an Olympic event is much more understandable because they are competing against other countries.

    Furthermore, if it is so sacred, why don’t we sing it at church every Sunday or every time a religious service starts?

  8. Good. The entire NBA, NFL and other leagues should do the same. Flip the coin, shake hands, and play ball.

  9. Hmmmm….the NBA wonders why they are losing fans.
    Mavericks didn’t publicize decision to stop playin National Anthem before games…Of course they didn’t.
    I don’t think they wanted to face backlash.
    Why play the Anthem?
    Maybe to show just a little respect to the country that gives you an opportunity to play a game and be handsomely paid for doing so.

  10. “ That raises a question about why sports teams feel compelled to play the national anthem pregame and opens a debate about whether they should.”

    Sad day in America when the national anthem is considered controversial or unnecessary.

  11. There’s no need to cram the anthem and patriotism into everything.
    People won’t even notice its gone anyway, you tune in for the game not the song

  12. Finally a team with some sense, the anthem has zero i mean ZERO to do with any sporting event, in fact it’s just another way to manipulate the masses- that is certainly how the orange man used it- maybe, hopefully, this will get others to re-assess why they are playing the anthem in the first place, just get to the game, that’s what people are tuning in for

  13. Bold move but will football follow suit and stop the flyovers that cost taxpayers a lot of money for a few seconds???

  14. “So it bears watching whether other professional sports teams — or leagues — now follow the Mavericks’ lead in dropping the national anthem pregame.”

    They’d be idiots if they do.

  15. This makes a lot of sense. Watching a sporting event is entertainment, not some civic function.

    Save the anthem for more serious or patriotic events. A 4th of July parade, a military ceremony, a citizenship ceremony, etc. Not an entertainment event.

  16. Good move. Sports have almost nothing to do with our patriotic tradition. You can count on one hand the number of people involved in professional sports who ever served the country in any capacity.

  17. Great decision. Why are we playing a military-centric anthem at sporting events anyway? Why not play it before movies, concerts, and church? Our national anthem for everyone should be America the Beautiful. Play the Star Spangled Banner at parades and military events, where it belongs. It’s about time.

  18. Hopefully they are the first of many to stop playing it. And I’m glad the first team to do it is in Texas, not Portland or something

  19. Let’s hope there is a tremebdous backlash against Cuban and the other Anti Americans who will not show support, respect and solidarity for our country.

  20. There is an old saying that says “A fool and his money soon part”. This will hurt the ratings and that extremely low now.

  21. The Star-Spangled Banner became the national anthem in 1931. It started being played regularly at baseball games after it really fired up the teams after being played for the seventh-inning stretch during the World Series in 1918, as both World War I and the Spanish Flu epidemic. It gradually spread to other sports, but it only became a firmly established tradition in the WW2 era.

    So the anthem and sports aren’t inextricably linked and I just don’t see it as a big deal to stop playing it. I think players and fans just want to get the game going. That’s what they’re there for. But also, if you’re going to play it, why does it need to be at the beginning? That wasn’t the way it was used previously. Play it–or, better yet, America the Beautiful–at the seventh-inning stretch, at halftime, or some other point that’s normally a non-playing time.

  22. I wish the practice would stop, for all teams, in all pro sports. They are businesses, with no ties to the country where they are established, other than their address. And it will be one less thing to have shoved down our throats by the media.

  23. No one noticed because no one is watching. Ratings will catch up at some point and you’ll see salaries plummet. The alienation of patriotism continues.

  24. It’s never made any sense to me that we would play the national anthem before sporting events. What’s the connection between a game and patriotism? If we’re doing it before games why not every day before work or school or before a movie starts in a theater?

  25. The why is pretty clear. It began as a way of expressing patriotism during the World Wars and after WWII become an every game thing. As to whether they should, it’s a clear no.

    Before you start disliking my comment, I ask you, how often do you hear the National Anthem played outside of sports? Before you go to work everyday? Before you go to any other kind of entertainment venue? A silly tradition that meant something when WWI and II were happening, but not today.

  26. Theres no question in my mind, no discussion needed. Play the national anthem. I will not watch any team that does not play the national anthem.

  27. I understand playing national anthems in an international competition setting. But when all the NFL teams are from the US, why bother? I can understand doing it in the international games in the NBA, NHL, and MLB I guess. I think it’s just trite and unnecessary to play the anthem, but I was the kid that didn’t stand for the pledge of allegiance in school. Before everyone thumbs downs me, I love America and it’s a great country, but part of its greatness is not being forced to swear allegiances. Nationalism and patriotism are unfortunately the same in everyone’s mind nowadays.

  28. I have to laugh at the comments from people saying they won’t watch games if the anthem isn’t played first. They probably wouldn’t even have noticed if it wasn’t pointed out by the media. And I bet most people watching on TV fast forward through it to get to the game, or go to the kitchen or the bathroom while it’s on.

    Playing the national anthem at a game has little to nothing to do with patriotism. It’s a show. Patriotism is how you live your life, not where or when a song is played.

  29. Why do we always have to try and out-patriot each other by playing it at ever opportunity. We’re not a cult, it shouldn’t be a requirement.

  30. It’s so important that nobody noticed the first 13 times it wasn’t played. Just be done with it across the board.

  31. And they wonder why ratings have dropped. People like to watch sports to get some relief from life, not to hear more politics. I’d rather watch re-runs of Jeopardy than watch the NBA anymore.

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