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Mavericks play national anthem amid Mark Cuban controversy


It was standing room only at American Airlines Center.

Members of the Mavericks and visiting Atlanta Hawks stood for the national anthem, hours after Dallas owner Mark Cuban succumbed to NBA demands to play the song before the game.

The league sent a memo to teams on Wednesday after it was revealed the Mavericks, at the direction of owner Mark Cuban, had not played “The Star-Spangled Banner” before any of their previous 13 preseason and regular-season home games.

“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,” Chief Communications Officer Mike Bass said in a statement.

The Mavericks had a limited number of fans in attendance for Monday’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Cuban’s plan became a hotbed for debate, one the NBA quickly tried to stamp out with its memo. The franchise changed course shortly thereafter.

The billionaire owner said the decision not to play the anthem before games came after conversations with community members who felt the tradition “did not represent them,” he told ESPN on Wednesday.

“We didn’t make any decision to never play the national anthem then — that wasn’t the case at all,” he said on “The Jump.” “We didn’t cancel the national anthem. 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.”


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