The Texas Senate passed the “Star-Spangled Banner” Protection Acts this week in a 28-2 bipartisan vote, advancing the legislation to the state House for approval. Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick referred to the passage as “one of the most surprising votes” during his tenure.
The “Star-Spangled Banner” Protection Act is a Republican-backed bill that requires professional sports teams with state government contracts to play the National Anthem before the start of a game.
“Texans are tired of sports teams that pander, insulting our national anthem and the men and women who died fighting for our flag,” Patrick wrote in a statement this week. “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.”
Patrick decided to pursue the acts after NBA Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban stopped playing the National Anthem before home games. Many patriotic Texans blasted the move, with some even urging Cuban to sell the team to someone else.
For the 2021-22 season, Cuban decided to leave out the anthem before the team’s first 10 home games, as well as preseason games without fans at the stadium. When fans began to return to the stands in February, Cuban continued the new tradition.
NBA Chief Communications Officer Mike Bass soon issued a statement saying the anthem must be played by all teams. “With 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.”
But the damage had been done. Patrick and the GOP-led Texas Senate have taken the next step to require all professional sports teams in Texas to continue the tradition.
The surprising bipartisan vote also included all but two Democrats. Virtually all Texans agree the National Anthem is a vital part of Texas sports.
Now if they could just get the other 49 states on board — maybe even add a requirement for all athletes and coaches to stand during the National Anthem. If so, patriotic Americans could have a real hoe down. Texas has long been known as one of the nation’s most independent states. Some even joke the state is really a nation that only pretends to be a state.
But not this time. Texans have revealed their loyalty to the USA, reigniting a level of pride unseen since the Olympic Games of a past generation. Today, President Joe Biden would not even consider boycotting the Olympic Games in China over human rights abuses. He’d rather move Major League Baseball’s All-Star game for trying to protect democracy.
Even the U.S. Olympic Committee has changed the rules to allow athletes to kneel or protest as they see fit. We need more moves like the Texas-led “Star-Spangled Banner” Protection Act if we hope to stand strong in our American values in the days ahead.