Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced Wednesday that requiring the national anthem to be played “at all events which receive public funding” will be among his top legislative priorities this session.
The “Star Spangled Banner Protection Act,” which has not yet been filed, comes as the Dallas Mavericks are under attack by some GOP Texas lawmakers seizing on a report that team owner Mark Cuban decided to stop playing the national anthem before home games this season. The team will resume playing the anthem before games, the NBA said Wednesday.
“It is hard to believe this could happen in Texas, but Mark Cuban’s actions of yesterday made it clear that we must specify that in Texas we play the national anthem before all major events,” Patrick said in a statement. “In this time when so many things divide us, sports are one thing that bring us together — right, left, Black, white and brown. This legislation already enjoys broad support. I am certain it will pass, and the Star Spangled Banner will not be threatened in the Lone Star State again.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Patrick called Cuban’s decision “a slap in the face to every American” and “an embarrassment to Texas.”
“Sell the franchise & some Texas Patriots will buy it,” Patrick said in a tweet. “We ARE the land of free & the home of the brave.”
The backlash comes after 13 preseason and regular-season games have already been played at the American Airlines Center without the “Star Spangled Banner,” according to The Athletic. Those games took place without fans in the stands, with the exception of Monday’s game, when The Athletic noticed the change and raised the question.
Cuban told the sports website it was his decision to remove the anthem. He has previously expressed support for athletes kneeling during the anthem before games to protest racial injustice.
But on Wednesday, the professional basketball league released a statement saying “[w]ith 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.”
There’s so much here, but the first questions I have are “Really? That’s what you want to spend time on in this legislative session?” I get throwing red meat to the base, but this session is already full of red meat issues, and there’s still that pesky pandemic to deal with, among other things. I’d ask who cares about this, but I suppose we can trust Dan Patrick to know what people like Dan Patrick want. What normal people might prefer is another matter. In the meantime, here’s your bright shiny right-wing object for the 2021 legislative session. More here from the Trib.