The NHL’s Dallas Stars announced Wednesday that they will be playing the national anthem ahead of their games.
The announcement came in contrast to billionaire Mark Cuban’s earlier statement that the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, a team Cuban owns, has stopped playing “The Star-Spangled Banner” before their home games.
“The playing of the national anthem is a time-honored tradition and the Dallas Stars will continue to perform the Star-Spangled Banner prior to our games at American Airlines Center,” read a statement from Dallas Stars.
“As the only National Hockey League team in Texas, we are proud to represent our state and our country,” the statement added.
The Athletic reported Tuesday that the Mavericks had stopped playing the national anthem before home games this season, at the direction of Cuban, “and do not plan to play it moving forward.”
The anthem-snub, The Athletic’s Tim Cato noted, is “the first instance we know of a pro sports team striking the U.S. anthem from the pre-game.”
“None of 13 preseason and regular-season games played at the American Airlines Center this season have featured the anthem before the game, including Monday’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, the first played this season with a limited amount of fans in attendance,” reported The Athletic. “The Mavericks did not publicize the anthem’s removal, and The Athletic was the first media organization to reach out about the change after noticing its absence on Monday. Multiple team employees described only noticing the anthem’s removal on their own, as it was also not announced or explained internally.”
Cuban’s planned anthem crackdown, however, was seemingly short-lived.
In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, NBA Chief Communications Officer Mike Bass said the league will play the anthem before games as they start to welcome back fans. Stadiums and arenas have generally been empty or limited across professional sports due to coronavirus precautions.
“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 statement said, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported.
As highlighted by The Daily Wire, controversy surrounding the anthem was sparked in 2016, when then-NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick politicized “The Star-Spangled Banner” by refusing to stand because, according to Kaepernick, America “oppresses” minorities and allows its cops to “murder” innocent people of color.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told Steve Wyche of NFL Media at the start of his protest, back in 2016. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
“This is not something that I am going to run by anybody,” he added. “I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed. … If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right.”
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