In February, Mavs Owner Mark Cuban ordered stadium staff not to play the national anthem. Last week, Texas Republicans responded by passing a law requiring him to play it.
Now, all that remains is for Texas Governor Greg Abbott to sign it.
The bill, known officially as Senate Bill 4 and better known as the “Star-Spangled Banner Protection Act,” was made a legislative priority of Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick after Cuban canceled the anthem for 13 Mavericks preseason and regular-season home games earlier this year.
“Sell the franchise & some Texas Patriots will buy it. We ARE the land of free & home of the brave,” Patrick wrote on Twitter at the time.
.@mcuban Your decision to cancel our National Anthem at @dallasmavs games is a slap in the face to every American & an embarrassment to Texas. Sell the franchise & some Texas Patriots will buy it. We ARE the land of free & the home of the brave. https://t.co/4xfY5loqQQ
— Dan Patrick (@DanPatrick) February 10, 2021
Cuban made headlines in February by becoming the first pro sports team owner to order the anthem canceled.
“None of 13 preseason and regular-season games played at the American Airlines Center this season have featured the anthem before the game, including Monday’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, the first played this season with a limited amount of fans in attendance,” Athletic reporter Tim Cato explained. “The Mavericks did not publicize the anthem’s removal, and The Athletic was the first media organization to reach out about the change after noticing its absence on Monday. Multiple team employees described only noticing the anthem’s removal on their own, as it was also not announced or explained internally.”
The NBA quickly overruled Cuban, insisting that the anthem would be played by all teams “in keeping with longstanding league policy.”
However, just in case Cuban or any other pro sports owner gets any idea about doing that again, the state of Texas has taken action by passing a bill that will cost the teams funding and their business relationship with the state if they refuse to play the anthem.
According to ABC 13, some lawmakers have questioned the constitutionality of the law. However, as the bill’s sponsor in the House, Republican Rep. Dustin Burrows points out, the law “does not violate free speech because teams can still choose not to play the anthem and forgo the funding and business relationship with the state.”
Governor Abbott is expected to sign the bill.