Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, known for taking a soft stance on communist China, quietly nuked the national anthem from his National Basketball Association team’s home games without explanation.
The Mavericks, which are currently 11-14, refused to play the “Star-Spangled Banner” at any of their 13 pre-season or 12 regular-season games at the American Airlines Center this year, a decision the team owner did not publicize. Cuban, however, confirmed the decision to The Athletic on Monday after people began to question the lack of the anthem, offering no extra explanation for the change. Mavericks employees who noticed the stealthy removal said they also received no notice or explanation for Cuban’s decision to nix the patriotic song.
The NBA currently has a policy that requires teams and their staff to “stand and line up in a dignified posture along the foul lines during the playing of the American and/or Canadian national anthems,” which was not enforced during the league’s Black Lives Matter campaigning last summer when players knelt during the anthem or even boycotted games after the shooting of Jacob Blake, but it is unclear if Cuban’s decision violates any NBA policy.
While many NBA owners, coaches, and players have all made a point to oppose the U.S. national anthem, league members, including Cuban, have also taken a soft stance on China, one of the nation’s top national security threats.
In 2020, Cuban explicitly refused to defend democratic protesters in Hong Kong facing oppression from the Chinese Communist Party, after he was challenged to do so by Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. The “Shark Tank” investor defended his silence on China by claiming, “I have never gotten involved in the domestic policies of ANY foreign country.”
Cuban also told podcast host and longtime journalist Megyn Kelly that while he generally condemns human rights violations across the world, he still would not specifically denounce the Chinese Communist Party’s genocide against the Uighur people, a minority group in China. He also proclaimed he is “okay with doing business with China.”
“You know, I wish I could solve all the world’s problems, Megyn. I’m sure you do too. But we can’t. And so we have to pick our battles,” Cuban said.