Players, coaches and staff kneel during the national anthem before the game between the Houston Rockets and the Portland Trail Blazers at The Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 04, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
Kevin C. Cox | USA TODAY Sports | Reuters
The National Basketball Association is requiring teams to play the national anthem before games, Chief Communications Officer Mike Bass said in a statement Wednesday.
The league announcement comes after news that the Dallas Mavericks ceased playing the national anthem prior to home games this season at the direction of owner Mark Cuban.
The Mavericks have not played the national anthem before any home games this season, a team spokesperson told NBC News.
“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.” Bass said in the statement.
The announcement from Bass seems to contradict a previous statement from NBA spokesman Tim Frank, who told NBC News that “teams are permitted to run their pregame operations as they see fit.”
Though league policy requires players to stand for the national anthem, according to NBC Sports, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver hasn’t strictly enforced the rule, allowing players to kneel during the anthem in the NBA bubble last season.
The Mavericks take on the Atlanta Hawks at home Wednesday night at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.