Mark Cuban, a regular on ABC’s Shark Tank and the owner of the National Basketball Association’s Dallas Mavericks, could potentially face millions of dollars in government givebacks, thanks to a new Texas state law.
The Texas “Star Spangled Banner Protection Act” law went into effect Wednesday, requiring pro teams in the state that take public money to play the National Anthem.
Cuban decided to no longer play the National Anthem in pregame ceremonies at the beginning of the 2020-2021 season. It was only noticed in February of this year. The NBA subsequently issued a statement saying “All teams will play the national anthem in keeping with longstanding league policy,” but did not provide any penalties for not doing so.
Cuban said at the time he would comply. Now, the new Texas law mandates his compliance. It specifies that teams need to return government funding if they don’t play the song.
Cuban defended his original actions.
“We respect and always have respected the passion people have for the anthem and our country,” he said. “But we also loudly hear the voices of those who feel that the anthem does not represent them. We feel that their voices need to be respected and heard, because they have not been. The hope is that those who feel passionate about the anthem being played will be just as passionate in listening to those who do not feel it represents them,” Cuban said.
The first test of that will come in about six weeks, when the NBA preseason begins.