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Biden Press Sec. Psaki Says He ‘Respects This Kind Of Protest’ After Mark Cuban Stops Playing National Anthem Before Mavericks Games

Earlier today, we reported that Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban had stopped playing the national anthem before his games. Now, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has spoken out to say that President Joe Biden supports peaceful protests at sporting events.

“I know he’s incredibly proud to be an American and he has great respect for the anthem and all that it represents, especially for our men and women serving in uniform around the world,” Psaki told reporters on Wednesday, according to Fox News.

“He’d also say of course that part of pride in our country means recognizing those moments where we as a country haven’t lived up to our highest ideals,” Psaki added. “Which is often and at times what people are speaking to when they take action at sporting events. It means respecting the right people granted to them in the Constitution to peacefully protest.”

Cuban confirmed to The Athletic that it was his decision to stop playing the national anthem before Mavericks games, and that he had not played the patriotic anthem before any of the home games this season. The NBA has since fired back, however, by saying that per the leagues rules, all teams must play the national anthem before their games.

“With NBA teams now in the process of welcoming fans back into their arenas, all teams will play the national anthem in keeping with longstanding league policy,” NBA Chief Communications Officer Mike Bass said in a statement released on Wednesday.

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While there has been a rule in place since the 1980s calling for all players to stand during the national anthem, NBA commissioner Adam Silver, has not been enforcing it in the past two months.

“I recognize that this is a very emotional issue on both sides of the equation in America right now, and I think it calls for real engagement rather than rule enforcement,” Silver said in December, according to ESPN.

Last June, Cuban voiced his support for players taking a knee during the anthem.

“If they were taking a knee and they were being respectful, I’d be proud of them. Hopefully I’d join them,” he said, adding that he hopes the NBA will “allow players to do what’s in their heart.”

“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,” Cuban said. “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.”

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