Bipartisan Vote To Pass National Anthem Act In Texas

( Texas has taken matters into its own hands, and will try to require all professional sports teams to play the National Anthem before the start of games.

Earlier this week, the state Senate passed what’s known as the “Star-Spangled Banner” Protection Act. By a vote of 28-2, with 11 Democrats also supporting the bill, the Republican-led chamber advanced the bill in the state legislature.

The state House will still need to pass the measure before it can make its way to the desk of Republican Governor Greg Abbott. Damn Patrick, the lieutenant governor who presides over the Senate, said he was shocked at the support the bill received from Democrats in the chamber.

In fact, he called the overwhelming support for the bill “one of the more surprising votes” in his political career.

The bill will require any professional sports team that has a contract with the state government to play the National Anthem before the start of any game. As Patrick wrote in a statement on Thursday:

“Texans are tired of sports teams that pander, insulting our national anthem and then men and women who died fighting for our flag. The passage of SB 4 will ensure Texans can count on hearing the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ at major sports events throughout the state that are played in venues that taxpayers support.

“We must always remember that America is the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

The impetus for the bill being crafted was the actions by Mark Cuban, the outspoken owner of the Dallas Mavericks, an NBA team based in Texas. In February, the team stopped playing the National Anthem before their home games, at the apparent direction of its owner.

At the time, ESPN reported that the team had no plans to start playing the National Anthem in the near future.

Cuban himself wouldn’t comment on the decision. However, he did say that he made the decision after consulting with Adam Silver, the commissioner of the NBA.

The NBA is just one professional sports league that has had controversy surrounding the National Anthem. Players have often kneeled while the anthem is being played, in either protest of racism or treatment of minorities throughout the country.

The movement first started in the NFL, but then gained steam in other sports as well. While leagues like the NBA have rules in place that say players must stand for the National Anthem, the league hasn’t enforced it.

That’s something Cuban has supported in the past, too, saying:

“Whether it’s holding their arm up in the air, whether it’s taking a knee, whatever it is, I don’t think this is an issue of respect or disrespect to the flag or to the anthem or to our country. I think this is more a reflection of our players’ commitment to this country and the fact that it’s so important to them that they’re willing to say what’s in their heart and do what they think is right.”

Since then, Cuban started playing the National Anthem before games again.

If the Texas state House passes this bill, and the governor signs it, he and other professional sports team owners won’t have a choice in the future.