The NBA's Dallas Mavericks are no longer playing the national anthem before home games, owner Mark Cuban said Tuesday.
Cuban confirmed to ESPN that his professional basketball franchise will no longer play the anthem, nor does he expect the team to do so in the future.
The Mavericks did not play the anthem—a tradition in nearly every American professional sport—during the preseason, nor during their 11 home games this season. The team did not announce the change.
In both professional basketball and football, kneeling during the national anthem has caught fire as a form of protest against racism by players. The NBA mandates that players stand for the national anthem, but commissioner Adam Silver has not enforced the rule. Cuban made the decision after consulting with Silver.
Cuban, a billionaire business magnate, voiced support for his players kneeling last year during a podcast with Megyn Kelly. On the podcast, Cuban also backed the NBA’s controversial business ties with China, calling the country a "customer of ours."
"They are a customer of ours, and guess what, Megyn? I’m okay with doing business with China," Cuban said. "I wish I could solve all the world’s problems … but we can’t. So we have to pick our battles."
Several NBA stars and coaches have come under fire for rebuffing criticism of China’s takeover of Hong Kong and their general silence on human-rights issues in China. The league reaps more than $500 million in revenue from China each year and has declined to address new revelations regarding forced labor among Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang.