Outspoken Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban ignited a firestorm for canceling the national anthem at home games — while earning praise from leftists, some athletes, and the Biden administration.
Cuban on Tuesday told The Athletic that the team would no longer play “The Star-Spangled Banner,” with the anthem increasingly becoming a hot-button issue among NBA players as some athletes kneel or stay in the locker room to protest supposedly discriminatory policing against minority communities.
The NBA, however, swatted the move down, reminding teams that the anthem must be played prior to all games in a league-wide memo, which Cuban quickly caved to ahead of the team’s evening home tilt against the Atlanta Hawks.
The forced U-turn, however, didn’t stop critics from lighting into Cuban and the Mavs on social media.
“Get woke, go broke!” tweeted Anthony White, the vice president of the Fort Worth Police Officers’ Association union, prior to the reversal. “I won’t spend another cent on @dallasmavs.”
White, a Marine veteran, went on to suggest that those fans allowed at Mavs’ home games amid the coronavirus pandemic take it upon themselves to sing the anthem in protest
“Maybe the fans who attend will take the initiative to sing the National Anthem in unison anyway,” he wrote. “U.S. military personnel have shed blood and some have given their lives for the freedoms we enjoy today.”
John Rich, of the country music duo Big & Rich, reached a similar conclusion.
“So, American billionaire #MarkCuban will no longer play the National Anthem at Dallas Mavericks games,” wrote Rich. “Wonder what he’d do if I bought a ticket then stood up in my seat and got the whole crowd singing it at the top of their lungs? Would he usher us all out? I’d like to see that:)”
So, American billionaire #MarkCuban will no longer play the National Anthem at Dallas Mavericks games. Wonder what he'd do if I bought a ticket then stood up in my seat and got the whole crowd singing it at the top of their lungs? Would he usher us all out? I'd like to see that:)
— John Rich (@johnrich) February 10, 2021
Republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton also weighed in.
“Makes sense—the NBA needs space to play the Chinese National Anthem before games,” cracked Cotton, referring to the league’s stumbling approach to pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, in light of its major business dealings with China.
Makes sense—the NBA needs space to play the Chinese National Anthem before games. https://t.co/98bS9Jc6lJ
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) February 10, 2021
John Cardillo, a right-wing pundit and former NYPD cop, found the move particularly disrespectful to the families of military service members killed defending the US.
“Every Gold Star Family should be publicly hammering @mcuban,” wrote Cardillo.
Every Gold Star Family should be publicly hammering @mcuban.
— John Cardillo (@johncardillo) February 10, 2021
Mark Cuban Should Just Move To China Since He Despises America
“Hey #MarkCuban whether I’m at a game or at home I will always stand for our national anthem and our flag,” wrote one user, adding that they were out on the ABC reality show on which Cuban regularly appears. “I will NEVER Watch shark tank again.”
— boni (@Bkw2182) February 10, 2021
Another user questioned the divisive move at a time when the NBA is scrapping for fans.
“Just when I thought the @NBA couldn’t lose anymore viewers @mcuban said hold my beer,” they wrote.
— Angel (@anplifier73) February 10, 2021
Some, however, came out in support of Cuban’s Anti-Americanism.
“This should happen everywhere,” wrote Stan Van Gundy, the head coach of Mavs’ divisional rivals, the New Orleans Pelicans. “If you think the anthem needs to be played before sporting events, then play it before every movie, concert, church service and the start of every work day at every business. What good reason is there to play the anthem before a game?”
This should happen everywhere. If you think the anthem needs to be played before sporting events, then play it before every movie, concert, church service and the start of every work day at every business. What good reason is there to play the anthem before a game? https://t.co/HvnBtXhgGS
— Stan Van Gundy (@realStanVG) February 10, 2021
Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman simply wrote “legend,” linking to the story on Cuban’s call.
— Marcus Stroman (@STR0) February 10, 2021
Jen Psaki, press secretary for President Biden, appeared to signal administration support for the move on Wednesday, framing it as an acknowledgment of America’s failures to live up to its lofty ideals.