NBA Rumor: National Anthem

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10 of the 13 Texas Senate Democrats voted in favor of the “Star Spangled Banner Protection Act,” which Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick named a legislative priority after the Dallas Mavericks stopped playing the national anthem before games. Democrats in the Texas Senate overwhelmingly crossed the aisle on Thursday to vote in favor of the “Star Spangled Banner Protection Act,” a conservative-backed bill that would require any professional sports teams with contracts with the state government to play the national anthem before the start of a game.

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After the NBA ruled that all teams are required to play the national anthem once fans are welcomed back into arenas, Cuban said in a statement that he would follow the league’s policy. He added, “we respect and always have respected the passion people have for the anthem and our country. But we also loudly hear the voices of those who feel that the anthem does not represent them.” Marshall supported Cuban’s decision even though she has personally stood for the anthem ever since she was a child. As Cuban wrote in an e-mail, “she was able to provide perspectives that I didn’t have. It’s not an easy discussion, but it was an important one.”

Forty-one years later, Norm Sonju chuckles in memory of the phone call he received early in the Mavericks’ charter season, 1980-81, from then-NBA executive vice president David Stern. “What the hell are you doing?” “What do you mean?” “Coaches of other teams are calling us about the national anthem you do.” Actually the Mavericks were not playing “The Star Spangled Banner” before games but, rather, “God Bless America.”

On April 15, 1980, Don Carter, emotionally prodded by wife Linda Jo’s love of basketball, phoned Sonju and said he wanted to make a counterproposal to the league, leading two weeks later to the Mavericks’ christening news conference at Union Station. Sonju says he told Carter he wanted to enact two unconditional rules of any player who put on a Mavericks uniform: that they never get outhustled by the opposing team, and that they line up and face the flag during the pregame anthem, except in Dallas’ case the anthem would be “God Bless America.”

It’s never too late for an opportunistic politician to jump on the controversy. Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick: Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced that the Star Spangled Banner Protection Act, Senate Bill 4, will be among his legislative priorities this session. The purpose of the bill is to ensure that the national anthem is played at all events which receive public funding: “It is hard to believe this could happen in Texas, but Mark Cuban’s actions of yesterday made it clear that we must specify that in Texas we play the national anthem before all major events. In this time when so many things divide us, sports are one thing that bring us together — right, left, black, white and brown. This legislation already enjoys broad support. I am certain it will pass, and the Star Spangled Banner will not be threatened in the Lone Star State again.”

How effective was Cuban’s latest conversation-starter? During Wednesday afternoon’s White House press briefing, press secretary Jen Psaki was asked what President Joe Biden thought about Cuban’s decision to halt the playing of the anthem. “I haven’t spoken with him about the decision by Mark Cuban on the Dallas Mavericks, or I should say the national anthem,” Psaki said. “But I know he’s incredibly proud to be an American and has great respect for the anthem and all that it represents, especially for our men and women in uniform, serving around the world.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick leaped into fray, announcing that he will introduce “StarSpangled Banner Protection Act, Senate Bill 4 as one of his legislative priorities this session. He said the bill’s purpose would be to ensure that the national anthem is played at all events in Texas that receive public funding. “It is hard to believe this could happen in Texas, but Mark Cuban’s actions of yesterday made it clear that we must specify that in Texas we play the national anthem before all major events,” Patrick said in a statement.

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May 12, 2021 | 9:18 pm EDT Update