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Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban stopped playing the national anthem before home games in February, so Texas Republicans passed a bill requiring sports teams to play the anthem or forgo state funding.
The “Star Bangled Banner Protection Act,” led by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, passed last week and is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbot, according to The Daily Wire.
“[Mark Cuban] your decision to cancel our National Anthem at Maverick games is a slap in the face to every American and an embarrassment to Texas,” Patrick said in February. “Sell the franchise and some Texas Patriots will buy it. We ARE the land of free and the home of the brave.”
The battle of the anthem comes after Cuban made the decision to cut the national anthem before the team’s home games earlier this year, saying he listened to “the voices of those who feel that the anthem does not represent them.”
The anthem was not played at 13 Maverick games, including some pre-season games. The Mavericks did not publicize the decision to remove the anthem, according to The Athletic, who was the first to notice the anthem’s removal.
Cuban confirmed the decision to The Athletic and ESPN to remove the national anthem, but refused to explain further, NBC reported.
Following the news, NBA Chief Communications Officer Mike Basses issued a statement saying the anthem must be played by all teams.
“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,” Bass said.