National Anthem Protests

Texas Lt. Gov. Files Bill to ‘Protect' National Anthem After Mavs Stop Playing it Before Games

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Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R), apparently irked by Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, filed SB4 Wednesday hoping to "ensure that the national anthem is played at all events which receive public funding."

The Mavs owner decided to drop the anthem this season, saying Wednesday, "We respect and always have respected the passion people have for the anthem and our country. But we also loudly hear the voices of those who feel that the anthem does not represent them. We feel that their voices need to be respected and heard because they have not been."

Not many noticed the team hadn't been playing the anthem before games this season, probably due to the fact that fans hadn't been allowed in the area until this week.

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Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has relented on not playing the national anthem before home games this season. The move came shortly after the NBA reiterated its “longstanding league policy” to include the anthem. NBC 5’s Maria Guerrero reports on the controversy.

The Athletic first reported that Dallas had dropped the anthem and NBA spokesman Tim Frank said, "Under the unique circumstances of this season, teams are permitted to run their pregame operations as they see fit."

When Patrick learned that the anthem was being skipped during pre-game, non-televised activities, he hopped on Twitter to register his opposition.

"Your decision to cancel our National Anthem at Dallas Mavs games is a slap in the face to every American and an embarrassment to Texas. Sell the franchise and some Texas Patriots will buy it. We ARE the land of free and the home of the brave," Patrick tweeted.

Patrick then filed Senate Bill 4, the Star-Spangled Banner Protection Act, and named it among his legislative priorities for the current legislative session.

“It is hard to believe this could happen in Texas, but Mark Cuban’s actions of yesterday made it clear that we must specify that in Texas we play the national anthem before all major events. In this time when so many things divide us, sports are one thing that brings us together — right, left, Black, white and brown. This legislation already enjoys broad support. I am certain it will pass, and the Star-Spangled Banner will not be threatened in the Lone Star State again,” Patrick said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the league's position changed Wednesday and NBA Chief Communications Officer Mike Bass released a statement 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 Mavericks confirmed the national anthem would return to pre-game ceremonies Wednesday night and Cuban released the following statement.

“We respect and always have respected the passion people have for the anthem and our country. But we also loudly hear the voices of those who feel that the anthem does not represent them. We feel that their voices need to be respected and heard because they have not been. Going forward, our hope is that people will take the same passion they have for this issue and apply the same amount of energy to listen to those who feel differently from them. Only then we can move forward and have courageous conversations that move this country forward and find what unites us," Cuban said in a statement.

In an email to our partners at The Dallas Morning News, Cuban added a further comment to the previously released statement:

“And we will be playing the anthem tonight and going forward,” Cuban wrote. “As you know, we never said we wouldn’t. We just confirmed that we had not played it up to that point. We were still discussing what came next. We have no problem with playing it. But we do want these very important conversations to continue.”

There is no word yet from Cuban on Patrick's proposed legislation.

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