Back in 1981, the NBA initiated a rule that forced all players and team employees to stand for the national anthem as a way to pay their respects to the flag and United States.
That could change once the 2019-20 season resumes at Walt Disney World in Orlando late next month.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban hopes to protest with players this season
It’s not a surprise that one of the NBA’s best-known owners is chiming in on the current situation. Cuban has been one to speak out against both the Association and national leaders in the past. He’s now taking this to a whole new level.
“If they were taking a knee and they were being respectful, I’d be proud of them. Hopefully I’d join them,” Cuban said, via ESPN. “
Now, that would certainly be a sight right there. Imagine if an NFL owner decided to do this? Nearly impossible, right? Though, Cuban and his fellow owners are seen as more progressive than their NFL counterparts.
The billionaire owner did not stop there, either.
“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.”
Since protests broke out around the United States late last month following the murder of George Floyd, multiple NBA players have stepped up to prove themselves leaders within the community.
The Association itself has also indicated that it will back whatever players decide they want to do once the season resumes on July 30. Cuban’s stance is probably not an exception to the rule right now.
NBA players concerned about resuming season amid the ongoing civil strife
This is no small thing. Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving has noted that it does not make sense to resume the season when the streets of America are filled with protesters fighting for racial equality and the end of police brutality.
While Irving has been joined by others in taking this stance, it’s not going to impact the start of the 2019-20 season. That’s expected to take place July 30 after a four-plus month hiatus due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.