The discord that has developed in the NFL after President Donald Trump verbally attacked players Sept. 22 for protesting civil injustice during the national anthem has spread to other leagues, including Major League Baseball and with some high school football teams. A memo from NBA commissioner Adam Silver sent to each team was leaked late Friday outlining the league’s rule that players and coaches must stand for the anthem.
“I’ve talked to a bunch of our players and what I’ve told them is if they have a statement to make, let’s just stand in front of the video camera like this and make your statement,” Cuban said Saturday afternoon before unveiling the Mavericks’ remodeled locker room. “Don’t let anybody else take over the narrative for you.”
Cuban said he expects his players to stand for the anthem Monday but respects civil protests.
“This is America and I’m proud of people who speak out civilly. That’s who we are as a country,” he said. “I’ll be standing there with my hand over my heart. I think the players will be [standing]. I expect them to be.”
Cuban said he says a prayer to himself during each anthem, “thanking those who have fought before and are fighting now to keep this country safe,” he said. “But the beauty of this country is everybody gets to say anything they want.”
Cuban, who has had his public disagreements with President Trump in the past, said he thinks the controversy has created a positive dialogue.
“For all the discord one way or the other, there is an argument to be made that it’s bringing a lot of people together and it’s creating a lot of open discussion, which is always needed and is always beneficial,” he said.