After a 24-hour outrage news cycle over whether the Dallas Mavericks would play the national anthem at home games, team owner Mark Cuban released a statement explaining his decision to not play the anthem was listening to “the voices of those who do not feel the anthem represents them.”
Statement by Mark Cuban pic.twitter.com/OmtMNFUz1K
— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) February 10, 2021
Then the National Basketball Association clarified its longstanding league policy in a statement Wednesday that all teams must play the anthem before games, swiftly crushing Cuban’s idea.
I don’t think Cuban hates America or “The Star Spangled Banner.” It would be silly to hate the country that made you a billionaire. But he probably does genuinely believe that yanking the anthem is a good solution for ending racism, an idea that has been popularized in recent years by athletes, corporations, and leftist media.
Colin Kaepernick, another American whose country made him wealthy beyond his wildest dreams, used his infamous protests to communicate that the U.S. anthem and flag are offensive symbols of racial injustice. Leftist corporations and media mouthpieces raced to affirm this idea, and continue to do so, albeit in ways that never fully satisfy the activists who demand it.
Nike recalled an American flag shoe design. Talking heads on cable news equated the flag to a Nazi swastika. An American university labeled an American flag display on campus “sensitive content.” There are endless examples of our institutions and those in power embracing the narrative that American patriotism equals racism.
Sadly, in Cuban’s effort to stand in solidarity with the voiceless and the underrepresented, he overlooks the fact that it is precisely because of celebrities, billionaires, and members of the ruling class like him that many Americans “do not feel the anthem represents them.”
In 2009, political scientist Charles Murray spoke on the importance of patriotism, and what happens when our elites abandon it, especially in a country where they hold all the influence:
What it comes down to is that America’s elites must once again fall in love with what makes America different. I am not being theoretical … It won’t happen by appealing to people on the basis of lower marginal tax rates or keeping a health care system that lets them choose their own doctor. The drift toward the European model can be slowed by piecemeal victories on specific items of legislation, but only slowed. It is going to be stopped only when we are all talking again about why America is exceptional, and why it is so important that America remain exceptional. That requires once again seeing the American project for what it is: a different way for people to live together, unique among the nations of the earth, and immeasurably precious.
The ruling class, the billionaires and bureaucrats who run Washington, D.C. and our corporate media, having given up on America as an exceptional place. Instead, they are dissolving our country’s unifying, patriotic symbols — even rewriting our history.
In aiding in this effort, Cuban and Kaepernick and Nike are telling minorities, the marginalized, and the “voiceless” that America does not belong to them—that it is reserved for another race or class. If that’s true, then of course some Americans would feel the anthem doesn’t represent them.
Maybe getting rid of the anthem was part of Cuban’s continued kneeling to China, or a plan that backfired to avoid players who planned to protest the anthem anyway, or both. I don’t think Cuban hates America, but I don’t know if he believes our country is immeasurably precious.