Dallas Mavericks bring back pregame national anthem after NBA policy order

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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

For the first time this season, the Dallas Mavericks will play the national anthem ahead of a home game.

The Mavericks said the anthem will play before Wednesday’s game with the Atlanta Hawks at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, reversing course after the league ordered teams to include the song as part of the pregame ritual.

“Going forward, our hope is that people will take the same passion they have for this issue and apply the same amount of energy to listen to those who feel differently than them,” owner Mark Cuban said in a statement shortly after the league order.

The Mavericks had not played the national anthem before any home games during the preseason or regular season at Cuban’s direction, a team spokesperson confirmed to 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,” Chief Communications Officer Mike Bass said in a statement Wednesday.

The announcement from Bass contradicted 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.

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