Analysis: A Star-Spangled culture war in Texas

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The politician who championed the “bathroom bill” in the Texas Legislature in 2017 is now singing “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick unfurled the first of his priority bills this week, in reaction to news that the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks had stopped playing the national anthem before home games.

That went on for 13 games before anyone noticed, according to The Athletic. But when they noticed, they really noticed. The news traveled all the way to the lieutenant governor, and before you could say “dawn’s early light,” he had proposed the “Star Spangled Banner Protection Act.”

It hasn’t been filed yet, but it would require the playing of the anthem at all events that receive public funding. Presumably, that would include sessions of the House and Senate, which start with prayers, and pledges to the U.S. and Texas flags, but no anthem.

“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 a news release. “In this time when so many things divide us, sports are one thing that bring us together — right, left, Black, white and brown.”

Cuban is the owner of the Mavericks.

“We respect and always have respected the passion people have for the anthem and our country,” Cuban tweeted. “But we also loudly hear the voices of those who feel that the anthem does not represent them. 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.”

The problem, as far as professional basketball is concerned, has already been solved. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Wednesday that the league’s teams will be required to play the national anthem before each game.