A new Florida bill will require professional sports teams to play the National Anthem before the start of every home game if they want to get state funding, in a move that mirrors Texas’ Star Spangled Banner Protection Act.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban decided to stop playing the anthem during the 2020-2021 NBA season after speaking to people “who voiced their concerns, really their fears that the national anthem did not fully represent them, that their voices were not being heard.”
The NBA ruled that all teams were required to play the anthem after the Mavs skipped the song for 13 games, but Texas wasn’t taking any chances and neither is Florida Republican state Rep. Tommy Gregory, who filed the bill in early November.
“I haven’t seen any Mark Cuban-type, what I would view as anti-American, protests against our anthem or our flag but I certainly want to make sure that sort of negative activism is avoided, prohibited actually, if they want to do business with the government, and most of them do,” Gregory commented.
Gregory’s proposed HB 499 aims to make teams play the anthem in their stadiums if they want to get subsidized by the government and contains the same framework as Texas’ Star Spangled Banner Protection Act.
“A governmental entity may not enter into an agreement with a professional sports team that requires a financial commitment by the state or a governmental entity unless the agreement includes … written verification that the professional sports team will play the United States national anthem at the beginning of each team sporting event held at the team’s home venue or other facility controlled by the team for the event,” the bill reads.
Gregory, a military veteran, feels strongly about adhering to the game time tradition. “I think that showing proper respect to our country and our flag is really a civic responsibility,” he said.