Feb 10, 2021 - Sports

NBA requires teams to play national anthem at games

 The Sacramento Kings linking arms during the national anthem in Los Angeles on Feb. 7.
The Sacramento Kings linking arms during the national anthem in Los Angeles on Feb. 7. Photo: Meg Oliphant/Getty Image

The NBA said in the statement Wednesday that "all teams will play the national anthem in keeping with longstanding league policy."

Why it matters: The statement came after Dallas Mavericks' owner Mark Cuban said his team hadn't played the national anthem during home games so far this season and didn't plan to do so moving forward. The Mavericks are believed to be the first American professional sports team to cease the practice.

What they're saying: "With NBA teams now in the process of welcoming fans back into their arenas, all teams will play the national anthem in keeping with longstanding league policy," the league said in a statement."

Cuban then told The Athletic that the Mavericks will resume playing the anthem in the team's game against the Atlanta Hawks Wednesday night.

  • Cuban's statement followed the NBA's, saying 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 big picture: The NBA requires players to stand for the anthem, but the league hasn't enforced the rule in recent years as kneeling became a method of protest, according to Axios' Kendall Baker.

  • Many NBA teams kneeled during the anthem last month following the Capitol siege and news that the police officers who shot Jacob Blake wouldn't face charges.
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