Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks’ decided to axe the pre-game playing of the national anthem for the foreseeable future—a development that sparked widespread condemnation from Texans.
.@mcuban Your decision to cancel our National Anthem at @dallasmavs games is a slap in the face to every American & an embarrassment to Texas. Sell the franchise & some Texas Patriots will buy it. We ARE the land of free & the home of the brave. https://t.co/4xfY5loqQQ
— Dan Patrick (@DanPatrick) February 10, 2021
According to The Athletic, which broke the story regarding the Mavericks owner’s decision to eliminate the playing of the national anthem ahead of basketball games, “Cuban said in July that he would kneel with players during the anthem. He also tweeted, ‘The National Anthem Police in this country are out of control. If you want to complain, complain to your boss and ask why they don’t play the National Anthem every day before you start work.'”
Cuban, an outspoken advocate for permitting players to kneel during the national anthem, had previously tussled with U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and talk radio’s Mark Davis on the issue.
NBA is telling everyone who stands for the flag, who honors our cops and our veterans, to “piss off”? In Texas, no less?
Good luck with that. pic.twitter.com/AVWLMZIqu0
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) July 20, 2020
For lawmakers (and taxpayers) upset with the move to stop playing the national anthem, widespread condemnation is certainly one way of pushing back against Cuban’s decision, but they should also remember they have even more powerful leverage: They’re the Mavericks’ landlord.
That’s right. Taxpayers built and continue to own American Airlines Center.
In 1998, Dallas voters passed by just 1,600 votes a $125M arena construction package funded by new 5% car rental and 2% hotel taxes to help finance the construction of what would become the City of Dallas-owned American Airlines Center, which is home to not only Cuban’s Mavericks but also the Dallas Stars.
Taxpayers also shelled out big bucks for developers to renovate the area around the arena, Victory Park, and what’s now known as PNC Plaza, in order to make the area more attractive and engaging to patrons.
But the AAC isn’t the only major sports venue in Texas owned by taxpayers. In fact, taxpayers own almost all of the major professional sports venues in the state.
AT&T Stadium, the home of the Dallas Cowboys? It’s owned by the City of Arlington who also owns the Texas Rangers’ Globe Life Field.
Driving south on I-45, all of Houston’s major sports franchises play in taxpayer-owned stadiums.
Minute Maid Park, NRG Stadium, and the Toyota Center are all owned by either Harris County, the City of Houston, or both of them.
The San Antonio Spurs’ AT&T Center? It’s owned by Bexar County.
If Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and other political leaders truly want the national anthem played at every game, they have the power to require it. If citizens want the same they should demand their lawmakers use the power they’ve entrusted them with.