In Abrupt About-Face, NBA Says Groups Should Play Nationwide Anthem Earlier than Video games

The NBA mentioned Wednesday that each one groups should play the nationwide anthem earlier than video games “consistent with longstanding league coverage.” The announcement comes only a day after the league mentioned groups may select to not play “The Star-Spangled Banner” earlier than dwelling video games. 

The NBA was compelled Tuesday to weigh in on the anthem situation after Dallas Mavericks proprietor Mark Cuban mentioned his workforce had stopped enjoying the anthem earlier than dwelling video games final 12 months ― and had no plans to begin the custom up once more.

When requested about Cuban’s resolution, an NBA spokesperson instructed Bleacher Report that due to “the distinctive circumstances of this season,” through which a majority of NBA groups are presently enjoying dwelling video games with out followers as a result of ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it was allowing groups “to run their pregame operations as they see match.” 

The league, nevertheless, modified its tune Wednesday, saying that “with NBA groups now within the means of welcoming followers again into their arenas, all groups will play the nationwide anthem consistent with longstanding league coverage.” 

Cuban instructed The New York Instances that the Mavericks ― who’ve began permitting a small variety of followers to attend dwelling video games ― are “good” with the league’s place and would play the anthem earlier than their dwelling sport towards the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night time.

“We respect and at all times have revered the fervour folks have for the anthem and our nation. However we additionally loudly hear the voices of those that really feel that the anthem doesn’t characterize them. We really feel that their voices should be revered and heard, as a result of they haven’t been,” Cuban added in an announcement. 

“Going ahead, our hope is that individuals will take the identical ardour they’ve for this situation and apply the identical quantity of vitality to hearken to those that really feel in a different way from them,” he mentioned.

Cuban has been vocal in his help of gamers and coaches kneeling in the course of the nationwide anthem to protest racism and police brutality.

“In the event that they had been taking a knee they usually had been being respectful, I’d be happy with them. Hopefully, I’d be part of them,” Cuban mentioned final 12 months. “Whether or not it’s holding their arm up within the air, whether or not it’s taking a knee … I don’t suppose this is a matter of respect or disrespect to the flag or to the anthem or to our nation. It’s a mirrored image of our gamers’ dedication to this nation.”

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