Over the course of Sunday and Monday, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban went after, as he put them, the “National Anthem Police” who have been criticizing the NBA for kneeling during the national anthem. This, along with other protests by NBA players when the season restarts next week, is expected since many players have stated that they have opted into the restart partly to use the platform to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
The tweet storm started a battle with Dallas radio personality Mark Davis – not to be confused with the Raiders Owner – who tweeted at Cuban, “I am so ready to be in on this year’s #Mavericks home stretch: so much promise, so much personality. But the minute one player kneels during the anthem, I am OUT. Surely” To this Cuban curtly quote tweeted “Bye.” And then went on a series of tweets criticizing the “National Anthem Police” and eventually got into a war of tweets with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) who criticized Cuban, and the NBA’s overall silence, about the injustice in Hong Kong after the Daryl Morey controversy that occurred late in 2019.
Although a fair point by Cruz, I fail to see how the BLM movement and the injustices in Hong Kong contradict each other. At such a tense time in terms of racial justice in America, it would frankly be odd for a league that is predominately African-American not to use its platform to speak out about racial injustice. Some of this awareness-raising has already begun with many players and coaches spotted wearing apparel with “Black Lives Matter” printed on them, including, the Raptors putting it on their post-game press conference and the league just announcing that the logo will be on every court.
I doubt the NBA will miss these people’s viewership if they chose to abstain from watching games due to the flag protests. How do these critics expect the players to remain silent and not use their platform to speak out? And while the NBA clearly has been keeping silent on the Hong Kong protests because they want to maintain a good relationship with the Chinese government, I don’t see any of the people complaining about BLM protests championing the citizens of Hong Kong. With scrimmages later this week, and a full restart on July 30, I don’t expect confrontations between people on either side of national anthem protesting to go away.