Mark Cuban stops playing national anthem at Dallas Mavericks games

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LOS ANGELES, CA – APRIL 12: Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban talks to a referee during a timeout in the game with the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on April 12, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. The Mavericks won 120-106. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

DALLAS (AP) — Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said Tuesday he decided before this season began not to play the national anthem before the team’s home games.

The Mavericks played their first 10 regular-season home games without fans. The club had fans for the first time in Monday’s 127-122 win over Minnesota. Dallas is allowing 1,500 vaccinated essential workers to attend games for free.

Cuban didn’t elaborate on his decision not to play the anthem, saying nobody had noticed. The Athletic first reported that Dallas had dropped the anthem.

NBA spokesman Tim Frank said, “Under the unique circumstances of this season, teams are permitted to run their pregame operations as they see fit.”

Cuban was outspoken against critics of NBA players and coaches kneeling during “The Star-Spangled Banner” when the 2019-20 season resumed in the bubble in Florida last summer.

The pregame national anthem is a staple of American sports at both the professional and collegiate level, but is far less commonplace at pro sporting events in other countries.

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