Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has changed his stance on players kneeling for the national anthem.
Before the 2017-18 NBA season, Cuban said that he was in full support of peaceful protesting, but he wanted Mavericks players to stand during the anthem. On Thursday, Cuban said that he will be behind his players who decide to kneel when the NBA season resumes in Orlando. He also added that he plans on participating with them.
“If they were taking a knee and they were being respectful, I'd be proud of them," he said on ESPN's "Outside the Lines.” “Hopefully I'd join them, because I think we've learned a lot since 2017. I think we've evolved as a country.
"And this is really a unique point in time where we can grow as a society, we can grow as a country and become far more inclusive and become far more aware of the challenges that minority communities go through," Cuban added.
The NBA rulebook says that all “players, coaches, and trainers are to stand and line up in a dignified posture along the sidelines or on the foul line during the playing of the national anthem." But with ongoing protests against racial inequality and police brutality occurring nationwide, Cuban said that the league needs to allow the players to peacefully protest during the national anthem when games resume.
"You know, hopefully we'll be adapting. Hopefully we'll allow players to do what's in their heart," Cuban said. "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. 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.
"I'll defer to [commissioner] Adam [Silver] on any final judgments and [NBPA executive director] Michele Roberts,” Cuban added. “But the reality is, my hope is we'll let the players do exactly what they think is the right thing to do."