Texas Senators Want Sports Teams To Shut Up and Play the Anthem

Texas state senators introduced a bill requiring the national anthem at all pro sports events.


The culture clash over the national anthem and kneeling has largely stayed away from actual lawmaking, until now.

Ten Texas state senators introduced a bill this month, Senate Bill (S.B.) 4, that would require pro sports teams to play the national anthem at the beginning of each preseason, regular season, and postseason game hosted in Texas. It bars governmental entities at the state and local levels from entering agreements with sports teams that require a financial commitment unless the agreement includes written verification the team will play the anthem before all games. If a team fails to comply, it would be in default of the agreement.

The bill didn't come out of the blue. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) vowed to introduce a bill back in February when it was reported that the Dallas Mavericks hadn't been playing the anthem before their games. For 13 preseason and regular-season home games, team owner Mark Cuban decided to skip the national anthem, and it took a while for anybody to notice (perhaps because fans were only present for the last of those games). Following reports about Cuban's decision, the NBA announced that with fans coming back into arenas, it would once again enforce its longstanding rule requiring the anthem before games.

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

Presumably, if this bill became law and a major sports league actually allowed a team to stop playing the national anthem (which seems a bit unlikely if even the NBA is still requiring it), it would affect stadium subsidies, any kind of government-funded tourism sponsorship, and possibly even arrangements where local law enforcement provides security. However, the bill would likely not stand up to judicial scrutiny.

"As a private organization, the NBA may legally require its teams to play the national anthem before games. Those teams cannot claim such an action violates their free expression rights," Amy Kristin Sanders, an attorney and a professor at the University of Texas Austin School of Journalism, told Law&Crime. "But Patrick's proposal that the Texas Legislature pass a state law requiring the national anthem be played represents state action. As a part of its speech protections, the First Amendment also bars state actors from compelling others to speak—and requiring someone to play the national anthem is just that."

In late February, several Tennessee legislators attempted to infringe on the speech rights of athletes via a different route. Those legislators wrote a letter to the state's public university presidents and chancellors asking them to prohibit student-athletes from kneeling during the national anthem. But, as Reason's Robby Soave wrote, "if the university could force student-athletes to stand for the national anthem, then it could force any student to do so—and this would obviously be unconstitutional."

The 10 Texas senators who authored S.B. 4 (nine Republicans and one Democrat) make up nearly one-third of the chamber. Hopefully, their colleagues recognize the First Amendment supersedes scoring political points.

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  1. Why do Texans hate freedom?

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    2. Plenty of them are half-educated bigots and superstitious, backwater rubes, but the clingers’ influence in Texas politics seems to be declining.

      1. If anyone’s an expert on being a half-educated bigot and superstitious, backwater rube, it’s Sarah Pederast’s Buttplug and Arthur L. Hicklib.

        1. Faux libertarians and other right-wing misfits are among my favorite culture war casualties.

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  2. Cuban runs a sexual harassment farm and calls it a basketball team his entire wokeness has been directed at covering his ass and not getting canceled

    1. And getting that sweet sweet slave China money

  3. The cost of all that tax money you accepted.

  4. And next they should pass a law mandating that people watch basketball games to offset the NBA’s tanking ratings. This is too stupid for words.

    1. >>law mandating that people watch basketball games

      LeBron is already on the case

      1. You will refer to him as King James, you dirty pleb. To deny a black multi-millionaire his proper monarchic title is a micro-aggression so intense that it may as well be a macro-aggression.

        1. about slashed my wrists this morning upon finding out he’s part-owner of the RedSox

          1. One more reason to dislike him. I am a Yankees fan. So it is political and sports. 🙂

            1. He’s ALSO a Yankees fan. Also seems fond of the Indians. No history of giving two shits about the Sox.

  5. I wish there were some way to hold legislators personally liable for the legal costs of defending such obviously unconstitutional bills.

    1. It is a moot point. Or, is it premature? I can never tell which one applies.

      1. What a hilarious comment Geiger! Thanks for that.

  6. Wear the mask! Stay inside! Salute the flag! Spy on your neighbors! Get the shot! Pay more taxes!
    That’s freedom baby!

    1. How does a misfit like this guy handle stop signs, center lines, red lights, and ‘no parking’ signs?

  7. It bars governmental entities at the state and local levels from entering agreements with sports teams that require a financial commitment unless the agreement includes written verification the team will play the anthem before all games.

    Even states are too centralized now. There was never a real reason why states exist other than that some higher level sovereign drew lines on maps and transferred that into real world sovereignty. It’s been a source of legal conflict since the Dillon Rule (munis only exist at the sufferance of states) and the Cooley ‘home rule’ Doctrine (munis or other first level govts are the only possible first level implementation of consent of the governed). Conflicts that are unresolvable at that state level – get transferred to the federal level – and those include a ton of things ranging from pollution to monetary policy.

    Sports teams and the national anthem is a rather petty specific. But my guess is that the divisions on this within Texas are a good guess as to the fault lines of how the state itself should break into separate pieces. My guess is this legislation is almost entirely rural voters with no sports teams deciding how urban entertainment should occur.

  8. Why is Patriotism such an accepted form of Tribalism? I don’t have enough middle fingers for all of the race baiters and the nationalists.

  9. In other news, Reason now has a deputy managing editor. I wonder what that is. Does it rank above or below associate editor? I hadn’t noticed it before.

    1. Deputy TO the managing editor.

    2. He only get one bullet however.

  10. I’m surprised they didn’t require “The Eyes of Texas are upon you” or “She’s the Yellow Rose of Texas” before all sporting events.

    1. If I were the emperor of America, I might make them all play air guitar to “Whole Lotta Rosie”.

      This is why we shouldn’t have emperors. Some other asshole emperor would make us do the macarena or worse, “The Electric Slide”, and then you might as well be doing those mass gymnastics celebrations, like we’re under the Kims.

      . . . except, you know, my celebration would be way cooler.

    2. UT Austin authored a 58-page report defending “The Eyes of Texas” as their fight song, but recommending group training sessions.

    3. “Texas, Our Texas” would be better.

      “Yellow Rose of Texas” is about a prostitute.

  11. Flawed legislation as it doesn’t clearly state which “national anthem” shall be played. For NBA, it definitely should be the Chinese national anthem; baseball should play Dominican national anthem, NFL should play USSR national anthem since the NFL is the epitome of communism.

  12. Well that is Texas!
    At least in NY. NJ, CA, OR and WA they play “The Internationale” before games. No one kneels when “The Internationale” is played as you risk being sent to prison camp or being executed. Much better than the National Anthem! (sarc)

  13. You know who else wouldn’t stand for the Star Spangled Banner?

    1. Gov Abbott

      too soon?

    2. General Sickle?

    3. Tiger Woods?

      (definitely too soon)

  14. why the f*#k do we play the national anthem before sporting events of any kind except when our national team is playing.. or at the Olympics? We don’t play the national anthem before concerts or movies. It’s just beyond stupid but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised since it appears that most of my fellow citizens are beyond stupid.

    1. Faux libertarians (and other right-wingers) love to compel the waste others’ time on songs written by racist elites.

      1. Those racist elites ensured you have a roof over your head instead of eating dirt with the rest of the slack-jawed hayseeds back in the Old Country, hicklib.

        1. Open wider, Red Rocks. Americans like me aren’t nearly done shoving progress down the whining, bigoted throats of guys like you.

          And be nicer, or we might decide to start positioning the progress sideways before shoving. You get to whine all you want, but you will comply, and there is no reason we need to be kind when shaping our national progress.

          1. Shorter Kirkland: blah blah blah I’m a retarded racist bigot blah blah blah

  15. NO! This is terrible!! Requiring the national anthem is even worse than the America-hating jerks who disrespect the national anthem.

  16. Sports leagues have played the patriotism card for years to get subsidized stadiums and jet flyovers and White House visits.

    I am cool with ending all of that. Are they?

  17. For 13 preseason and regular-season home games, team owner Mark Cuban decided to skip the national anthem, and it took a while for anybody to notice (perhaps because fans were only present for the last of those games).

    Well, his CCP handler told him to skip the national anthem, but yeah, same result.


    Gov. @RonDeSantisFL announces Florida’s curriculum will “expressly exclude…Critical Race Theory.”

    “There’s no room in our classrooms for things like Critical Race Theory. Teaching kids to hate their country and to hate each other is not worth one red cent of taxpayer money.”


    I wonder why there is anti-Asian racial animosity from the black community, it can’t possibly be people like NHJ stoking hate like this…


    Many leftists on this site are palpably disappointed that the mass shooter wasn’t motivated by race. These sickos don’t actually care about the death and suffering at all. The tragedy, for them, is that it doesn’t prove the point they wanted it to prove. Truly evil stuff.

    Part of the result of this obsession is that the two white victims are simply being erased from the discussion. They don’t count, apparently.

    1. You liar – nobody gave a shit about the race angle as long as the shooter was a Trump supporter.


    To our Asian neighbors, family, and friends. I know that the world seems more scary today. More cruel. Know that we love you.

    We mourn those killed last night in Atlanta with you. We will dismantle white supremacy alongside you.

    1. Yay, my rep is in the news. She might as well have been the only person on the ballot in my district.

  22. Texas Senators? That team is called the Texas Rangers now, after they moved from Washington. (The original Washington Senators became the Minnesota Twins, so this team was DC’s second try.) I guess “Senators” weren’t too popular, because the team currently in Washington is called the Nationals these days, but is really a foreign aid boondoggle, rescuing the Montreal Expos and giving them a free stadium.

  23. Texas Senators Want Sports Teams To Shut Up and Push the Propaganda

  24. Thank God our long national nightmare is over and there’s nothing more to worry about than whether or not somebody is pretending to honor the Texas legislature.

  25. Ten Texas state senators introduced a bill this month, Senate Bill (S.B.) 4, that would require pro sports teams to play the national anthem at the beginning of each preseason, regular season, and postseason game hosted in Texas. It bars governmental entities at the state and local levels from entering agreements with sports teams that require a financial commitment unless the agreement includes written verification the team will play the anthem before all games. If a team fails to comply, it would be in default of the agreement.

    Wait – which is it?

    Are they making a law forcing the playing of the anthem or are they using their right of free association to choose to not do business with someone who won’t?

    1. At the same time – these teams exist because of state subsidies. They play in stadiums that exist because of state subsidies.

      Those who play with the devil’s toys will be brought by degrees to wield his sword

  26. Unfortunately, the number of politicians who care about the Constitution is alarmingly low.

    Indeed, news-casting is STONE COLD DEAD and that is an exceptionally perilous thing for our future. The new Ministry of Truth push appears to be repetitive since the MSM as of now fills that need BUT they are attempting to snuff out the leftover ways their heathens can would like to become familiar with the entire story. The basic truth resembles Kryptonite to a Progressive. Mao’s Red Guard knew how to s

  28. Dear everyone, stop with this national anthem nonsense. Just let it go already.

    1. *Tagged for review by the Oberst-Gruppenführer*

  29. A solution in search of a problem. Do any pro sports not play the national anthem?

    By the way, Reason headline editor, please say “Texas State Senators” rather than “State Senators” so people don’t think Ted Cruz is sponsoring this showboating (which he is quite capable of doing).

    1. Read “Texas Senators” rather than “State Senators”

    2. I wouldn’t mind much if they stopped playing the anthem at all the sports events.

      It makes a little bit of sense if we’re doing national team competition – for instance, if Team Canada is playing Team USA in curling or something, play them both before or the winner’s song after, that’s cool.

      If you’re playing a baseball game between teams from two U.S. cities, and each team has players from a half dozen or more different countries, what’s the point?

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  31. It is obvious that the Texas Senator understands the importance of playing the national anthem. This period of time is critical for the audience to hit the head or get that hot dog and beer at the concession stand before the game starts. There is little more annoying than the person getting up in front of you during play to take care of things that could have been addressed during the playing of the national anthem.

  32. If you hate America so much and think it’s ok to neglect our National Anthem, then by all means renounce your citizenship, pack your garbage, and move! Go anywhere else in the world but here. If America offends you so badly, then return your stimulus checks, renounce citizenship and leave and don’t let the door hit you in the butt on the way out!

    1. Yeah! If you don’t like being forced to observe patriotic rituals, why don’t you go to some other country that actually respects civil liberties? Here in America, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth criminalizing not doing it.

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