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Photo: Rich Fury/Getty Images

The Dallas Mavericks haven't played the national anthem during home games this season and don't plan to play it moving forward, owner Mark Cuban confirmed to Axios.

Why it matters: The Mavericks are believed to be the first American professional sports team to cease playing the anthem at home.

  • MLS teams didn't play the anthem during last summer's Orlando tournament because the league didn't feel it was "appropriate" without fans in the stands.
  • But teams resumed the tradition once they returned to their home stadiums.

What they're saying: Cuban provided no further comment after the change was first reported by The Athletic, simply telling me: "We haven't played it yet this season. This is the first time it's come up."

  • In June, Cuban expressed support for players kneeling, telling ESPN: "If they were taking a knee and they were 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."

The state of play: Dallas never formally announced the new policy, but Cuban was allowed to enact it because the NBA has permitted teams "to run their pregame operations as they see fit" this season, per a league spokesman.

The backdrop: 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.

  • In that context, the Mavericks' decision could be viewed as the team simply doing away with a tradition that has taken on a life of its own.
  • Of note: 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. The Mavericks (away at Denver) were one of them.

History lesson ... The "Star-Spangled Banner" was played at a few sporting events in the 1800s, but it made its mainstream debut during the 1918 World Series (Red Sox vs. Cubs), which took place amid World War I and a global pandemic.

  • By 1931, it had become the official U.S. national anthem.
  • By the end of World War II, the NFL required it be played at every game.
  • The tradition quickly spread to other sports, thanks to post-World War II patriotism and better PA systems.

Go deeper: How sports met "The Star-Spangled Banner" (NPR)

Go deeper

46 mins ago - World

U.S: Nord Stream 2 "will not move forward" if Russia invades Ukraine

U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price during a press briefing at the State Department in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. will make sure the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project between Russia and Germany won't go ahead if Russian troops invade Ukraine, State Department spokesperson Ned Price told NPR on Wednesday.

Why it matters: Germany's ambassador to the U.S. appeared to support Price's strong rhetoric on the strategically significant pipeline that would circumvent Ukrainian transit infrastructure and deliver Russian gas directly to Germany, eliminating one of the last deterrents Ukraine has against an invasion, per Axios' Zachary Basu.

Scoop: Stephanie Ruhle to replace Brian Williams on MSNBC

Photo: Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

MSNBC will soon announce plans to move morning anchor Stephanie Ruhle to the 11 pm ET hour that Brian Williams turned into an elite destination, two sources familiar with the move tell Axios.

Details: The 9 am ET hour, currently hosted by Ruhle, will become part of MSNBC's flagship morning show, "Morning Joe," which currently runs from 6 am to 9 am ET.

Oath Keepers leader denied bail on Capitol riot sedition charge

Oath Keepers co-founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes. Photo: Susan Walsh/AP

A federal judge ordered Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes to remain jailed Wednesday until trial on charges stemming from the Capitol riot.

Why it matters: The judge said the most prominent far-right figure charged in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection had access to weapons and his alleged "continued advocacy for violence against the federal government" gave credence to prosecutors' view that, if released, Rhodes could endanger others.