Texas Lawmakers to Consider Requiring National Anthem at Publicly Funded Events

Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick said Wednesday he is supporting legislation that would require the national anthem to be played at all publicly-funded events in the state.

Patrick announced the Star Spangled Banner Protection Act would be "among his legislative priorities" after news spread that entrepreneur and NBA team owner Mark Cuban stopped playing "The Star Spangled Banner" before his team, the Dallas Mavericks, played home games. The team is expected to resume playing the anthem before its games, starting Wednesday night against the Atlanta Hawks.

In a Wednesday news release, Patrick said the goal of the legislation was to "ensure that the national anthem is played at all events which receive public funding."

Patrick went on to suggest that the legislation was a response to Cuban's decisions.

Dan Patrick national anthem legislation
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said Wednesday he is supporting legislation that would require all publicly-funded events to play the national anthem. In the photo above, Patrick speaks a press conference at the Texas State Capitol in Austin on Monday, May 18, 2020. Lynda M. Gonzalez-Pool/Getty

"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 the release. "In this time when so many things divide us, sports are one thing that bring us together—right, left, black, white and brown."

The proposal already has "broad support," according to Patrick.

"I am certain it will pass, and the Star Spangled Banner will not be threatened in the Lone Star State again," Patrick said.

The Star Spangled Banner Protection Act is among my legislative priorities this session. The purpose of #SB4 is to ensure that the national anthem is played at all events which receive public funding. Read my official statement here: https://t.co/2VEnd8EgN5#txlege

— Dan Patrick (@DanPatrick) February 10, 2021

Before announcing the proposed legislation, Patrick criticized the decision to stop playing the national anthem before Mavericks games on Twitter, calling it "an embarrassment to Texas."

"Your decision to cancel our National Anthem at @dallasmavs games is a slap in the face to every American & an embarrassment to Texas," Patrick tweeted. "Sell the franchise & some Texas Patriots will buy it. We ARE the land of free & the home of the brave."

The NBA released a statement Wednesday saying all teams were to play the national anthem at the start of every game "in keeping with longstanding league policy."

Cuban appeared Wednesday on ESPN's "The Jump" to discuss the debate about playing the national anthem before his team's games. Cuban said he never decided to stop playing the anthem entirely. Instead, he said his team experimented with not playing the anthem before their home games because some within the team's community felt the anthem "didn't represent them."

"We didn't make any decision to never play the national anthem—that wasn't the case at all. We didn't cancel the national anthem," Cuban said, adding that the American flag was still on display at the American Airlines Center, which serves as the Mavericks' home court. "The bottom line is, we had always discussed the fact that we probably would end up playing it at some point, probably when fans came back. But there was never any final decision made that we would not play the anthem."

The Mavericks released a statement Wednesday afternoon announcing the team would play the national anthem ahead of its Wednesday game.

"We respect and always have respected the passion people have for the anthem and our country. But we also loudly hear the voices of those who feel that the anthem does not represent them," Cuban said in a statement shared by the Mavericks on Twitter.

"We feel that their voices need to be respected and heard, because they have not been. Going forward, our hope is that people will take the same passion they have for this issue and apply the same amount of energy to listen to those who feel differently from them. Only then can we move forward and have courageous conversations that move this country forward and find what unites us."

The national anthem will play prior to tonight’s game and Mark Cuban has released the following statement. pic.twitter.com/rEAD9jXbSw

— Mavs PR (@MavsPR) February 10, 2021

Newsweek reached out to Cuban for further comment and will update this article with any response.