None of this season's games played at the American Airlines Center have included the National Anthem

By Katie Campione
February 10, 2021 12:29 AM
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Mark Cuban
Credit: Neilson Barnard/Getty

The Dallas Mavericks have stopped playing the National Anthem before home basketball games, PEOPLE has confirmed.

The team does not plan to play it moving forward, either, owner Mark Cuban confirmed to The Athletic — which was the first the report the news — on Tuesday.

Cuban confirmed to ESPN and also to The New York Times that the halting of the anthem was at his direction.

"It was my decision, and I made it in November," the Shark Tank star told the NYT.

The Mavericks did not announce that the home game ritual would not continue, but none of the 13 preseason and regular-season games played at the American Airlines Center have included it, The Athletic reported.

Mavericks
Credit: Glenn James/getty

When reached by PEOPLE, both Cuban and the Mavericks declined to comment.

NBA spokesman Tim Frank said in a statement to the Associated Press that "under the unique circumstances of this season, teams are permitted to run their pregame operations as they see fit."

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Cuban has been outspoken against people who criticized players for kneeling during the National Anthem over the past several seasons.

In June 2020, Cuban told ESPN that he hoped his players would be allowed "to do what's in their heart" despite an NBA rule that expects players and coaches to stand during the anthem.

"Whether it's holding their arm up in the air, whether it's taking a knee, whatever it is, I don't think this is an issue of respect or disrespect to the flag or to the anthem or to our country," Cuban said. "I think this is more a reflection of our players' commitment to this country and the fact that it's so important to them that they're willing to say what's in their heart and do what they think is right."