DALLAS – Just before training camp opened last week, the players on the Dallas Mavericks said they plan to protest during the playing of the national anthem at some point this season.
They just haven’t said when they’ll do it, or in what form they’ll do it. Either way, owner Mark Cuban has no problems with his players’ right to express their freedom.
“I’ll just take from what my dad said,’’ Cuban said prior to Monday’s preseason game against the Charlotte Hornets. “My dad enlisted in the Navy when he was 16.
“My grandparents came over on the boat to Ellis Island because they were afraid if they spoke up they would get killed, and he made it clear many times as we were growing up that one of the reasons he enlisted so early was to protect the country and protect our rights. If you can’t protect or respect the First Amendment rights of the people who you disagree with, who’s going to be there to protect your rights when you’re in the minority and you want to stand up to the government?’’
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started a national trend in August when he refused to stand in a preseason game while the National Anthem was playing because of issues he has concerning police brutality.
Cuban knows whenever his players stage a protest, it will be a silent protest. During the first two preseason games, the Mavs all stood like they normally do while the National Anthem was playing.
“Obviously I’ll be there with my hand on my heart and my family will stand there with (their) hand on (their) heart,’’ Cuban said. “But if the guys have something to say that they believe in, as long as they do it as a team, as long as they all discuss it together, that’s what my dad, that’s what my uncle, that’s what everybody that’s been in the military has given their life for.
“There’s always going to be people who disagree with me in this country and that I disagree with, and they have every right to speak. And the minute we’re not able to speak up simply because you’re an employee or simply because you play a game, then we have trouble. It’s a very slippery slope.’’