Mark Cuban Checked by NBA
Shortly after billionaire sports owner announced that the Star-Spangled Banner would not be heard before the start of the Dallas Mavericks’ games, he had to relent. And, indeed, they played America’s National Anthem – as usual.
It seems that officials of the National Basketball Association informed Mr. Cuban that the rules REQUIRE the playing of the Anthem before each game. This has been the tradition in sports for approximately 100 years. That tradition is carried out sans any enacted rules or regulations at most amateur and school sports events.
Cuban had based his initial decision on his more recent embrace of a concern that the Anthem “does not mean the same thing to different people.”
Well, duh! That has been obvious for a long time. Former San Francisco 49er Quarterback Colin Kaepernick and I obviously do not see – or hear – the Star-Spangled Banned with the same meaning … or feeling. We also do not see his response to the Anthem in the same way.
For me, the National Anthem – and the Pledge of Allegiance and Old Glory – are the core symbols of the American culture.
The National Anthem is what bonds ALL Americans as one culture. It is a patriotic devotion to our Declaration of Independence and Constitution. And the democratic Republic so ingeniously crafted by our Founders. It represents our belief in American Exceptionalism. And exceptionalism that a myriad of examples chronicled over the past 232 years supports.
Unlike Kaepernick – and Cuban – I do not see any internal differences – no matter how important or critical they may be – as cause to disavow my citizenship – literally or figuratively – and to express such a disclaimer by disrespecting the basic symbols of loyalty, unity and patriotism.
When Cuban says that he understands that certain groups or individuals may not find the same meaning in our national symbols, he is unwittingly casting those others to be outside the American family. They find their political issues as deal breakers in terms of national loyalty and unity – and no longer express patriotism.
As a rebuke to the NBA, Head Coach Stan Van Gundy of the New Orleans Pelicans suggested that there is no reason for a rule to play the National Anthem before games.
Why should we single out sports?
“If you think the anthem needs to be played before sporting events, then play it before every movie, concert, church service and the start of every workday at every business. What good reason is there to play the anthem before a game?”, he opined.
The National Anthem was once played at many more events than it is today. That includes movies, schools, business conferences and civic dinners. And many more places where we recited the Pledge of Allegiance at the onset of an event.
It was played at the end/beginning of television broadcasts – in the days when stations went off-air for the night. FOX News had retained that tradition by playing the Anthem at 6:00 a.m. as they transitioned from their nighttime to daytime broadcast. I was disappointed to see them end that practice recently – and hope they will reinstate it.
Cuban may want to reflect those who fail to see, or subscribe, to the meaning of devotion to the Anthem, the flag and the Pledge. But he is wrong to succumb to that thinking – to encourage it. Rather, he should be among those to bring people like Kaepernick back into the fold. Into the understanding that he can protest any injustice he may perceive without attacking the bond that makes us a nation … a culture.
Whenever I hear the National Anthem, it’s a reminder that we are all committed to the greatness of America. Even as we work to create that “more perfect union” as the Founders had admonished.
So, there ‘tis.