The Dallas Mavericks have stopped playing the national anthem before home games at the request of team owner Mark Cuban.
The anthem has not been played at any of the preseason and regular season games played so far at American Airlines Center this season, Mavericks communications manager Renee Felton told NBC News.
Cuban confirmed to The Athletic and ESPN that he made a change to the pregame ritual but did not give a reason for the change.
The NBA’s rules require players to stand during the anthem but NBA commissioner Adam Silver has not enforced that rule with some players kneeling in protests of police brutality and social injustice.
In a response to the story, the NBA says every team – including the Dallas Mavericks – must play the national anthem in their arenas.
“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,” said NBA Chief Communications Officer Mike Bass in a statement on Wednesday.
The Mavericks released a statement to NPR, saying: “The anthem will play before tonight’s game.”
Cuban released a statement of his own, saying he respects the league’s decision and respects the passion people have for the anthem and our country.
“We respect and always have respected the passion people have for the anthem and our country. I have always stood for the anthem with the hand over my heart – no matter where I hear it played. But we also hear the voices of those who do not feel the anthem represents them. We feel they also need to be respected and heard, because they have not been heard. 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.”