Players, coaches and staff kneel during the pre-game national anthem between the Houston Rockets and the Portland Trail Blazers at the arena of the ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 4, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
Kevin C. Cox | USA TODAY Sports | Reuters
For the first time this season, the Dallas Mavericks play the national anthem before a home game.
The Mavericks said the anthem will play ahead of Wednesday’s game with the Atlanta Hawks at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, reversing course after the league ordered teams to record the song as part of the pre-game ritual.
Owner Mark Cuban made a statement shortly after the league was ordered.
The Mavericks hadn’t played the national anthem before home games during the preseason or regular season on Cuban orders, a team spokesman confirmed to NBC News.
“As the NBA teams are in the process of welcoming fans back to their arenas, all teams will play the national anthem in line with long-standing league policy,” said Mike Bass, chief communications officer, in a statement on Wednesday.
Bass’s announcement contradicted an earlier statement by NBA spokesman Tim Frank, who told NBC News that “teams are free to conduct their pregame operations at their own discretion.”
Although league policy requires players to stand for the national anthem, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver didn’t strictly enforce the rule, according to NBC Sports, allowing players to kneel in last season’s NBA bubble during the anthem.