NBA Chief Communications Officer Mike Bass released a statement on Wednesday saying Cuban would be required to do. “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.]
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has announced he decided before the season not to have the national anthem played before the team’s home games. The move contradicts previous statements by the well-known Democrat that people should respect the anthem.
Now, in an interview with The Athletic he’s changed his mind and says the decision was completely his. His move breaks a 100-year tradition in which the anthem is played before American sports competitions.
Cuban’s announcement goes against the official rulebook of the NBA which requires players to stand during the anthem. In what many say was a sign of weakness, the NBA did not enforce the rule as more players chose to sit or kneel as the song played in protest. Most recently, the protests were in support of the Black Lives Matter organization. Critics say that NBA commissioner Adam Silver ignored the rule. “I recognize that this is a very emotional issue on both sides of the equation in America right now and I think it calls for real engagement rather than rule enforcement,” Silver stated in December.
Now, even without the rule having been changed or rescinded, the NBA is openly allowing teams to ignore it going forward. “Under the unique circumstances of this season, teams are permitted to run their pregame operations as they see fit,” NBA spokesman Tim Frank stated.
Cuban, who served as a fundraiser for the 2016 Hillary Clint campaign, has become a controversial figure himself, seemingly opining on topics for which he has no experience. The Mavs owner has also become a frequent political commentator, appearing on shows from Fox News to MSNBC and insinuating that he might run for the White House someday.
The move of the NBA into hot button political topics caused caught the eye of Texas Senator Ted Cruz who was attacked by Cuban after Cruz said it was getting out of hand.
I love @HoustonRockets & have rooted for them my entire life. I happily cheer for the Spurs & Mavericks against any non-TX team.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) October 6, 2020
Television industry insiders say that the veer to the left in American sports is losing them millions of viewers and billions in revenue. Like the NFL and even MLB, ratings are falling as fans call out often awkward attempts by teams and networks to be “woke” in their stance on social issues. The NBA saw its ratings fall 51 percent last season from the previous year. Fans said they couldn’t stand the “virtue signaling” during games, in commentator dialogues and advertising.
That couldn’t have been more evident than in a game between Cuban’s Dallas Mavericks and the Los Angeles Lakers on Christmas. Viewership topped out at 3.9 million viewers. A considerable drop from the previous Christams Day game between the Lakers and Clippers which averaged close to seven million viewers.
–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice