After reportedly confirming to The Athletic that he canceled the national anthem, then having the league step in and order him to play it, Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban has decided that he never canceled the anthem after all.
In a Wednesday interview with ESPN’s The Jump, Cuban said that the team was having an ongoing dialogue about the anthem but “probably would have ended up playing it at some point when fans came back.”
The only trouble with that is that there were some fans in attendance at American Airlines Arena on Monday night and, just like the other Dallas home games, the anthem did not get played.
On Wednesday, a day after Cuban reportedly confirmed to The Athletic that he had directed his team to not play the anthem before home games, the league issued a public statement mandating that “all teams” play the anthem prior to home games.
“We didn’t cancel the national anthem,” Cuban told ESPN. “We still had our flag flying proud up on the wall at the American Airlines Center and everybody had the opportunity to address it and pray to it or salute to it or whatever their feelings are.”
Cuban added, “in listening to the community, there were quite a few people who voiced their concerns, really their fears that the national anthem did not fully represent them, that their voices were not being heard.”
This explanation, however, only supports the claim that Cuban really did order the anthem to not be played since it is the exact explanation a source reportedly gave for why the Mavs owner decided to stop playing the anthem.
It is of course, highly unlikely that the Mavericks staff decided to stop playing the anthem on their own. That directive had to come from a source pretty high up the chain. In any event, a source even higher up the chain than Cuban has weighed in, and the Star-Spangled Banner will play again in Dallas.