Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban says he's changed his stance on his players kneeling during the national anthem.
Prior to the 2017-18 season, Cuban said he supported any civil protests by his Mavericks players but added he expected them to stand for the anthem.
However, on Thursday, he stated that players who opt to kneel when NBA games resume in Orlando will have his full support and that he hopes to participate with them.
"If they were taking a knee and they were being respectful, I'd be proud of them," he said on ESPN's "Outside the Lines." "Hopefully I'd join them, because I think we've learned a lot since 2017. I think we've evolved as a country.
"And this is really a unique point in time where we can grow as a society, we can grow as a country and become far more inclusive and become far more aware of the challenges that minority communities go through."
The NBA rulebook states that all "players, coaches, and trainers are to stand and line up in a dignified posture along the sidelines or on the foul line during the playing of the national anthem."
However, with several NBA players taking part in nationwide protests against racial injustice and police brutality during the season's suspension, Cuban called on the league to allow its athletes to demonstrate peacefully during "The Star-Spangled Banner" this summer.
"You know, hopefully we'll be adapting. Hopefully we'll allow players to do what's in their heart," he said. "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.
"I'll defer to (commissioner) Adam (Silver) on any final judgments and (NBPA executive director) Michele Roberts. But the reality is, my hope is we'll let the players do exactly what they think is the right thing to do."