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Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Senator Ted Cruz argue about national anthem, China

Senator Ted Cruz

US Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) attends a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing titled “Examining Best Practices for Incarceration and Detention During COVID-19,” in the Dirksen Building in Washington, DC on June 2, 2020. (Photo by ERIN SCOTT / POOL / AFP) (Photo by ERIN SCOTT/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said, if any Dallas players kneel during the national anthem, he hopes to join them.

That led to an argument with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz over Twitter:

Cruz is right: China’s authoritarianism should be denounced. Cuban and Cruz are right: Black Lives Matter.

Yet, instead of supporting each other’s commitment to freedom, Cuban and Cruz are mostly talking past each other and grandstanding.

Cruz’s national-anthem claim is particularly off-putting. Kneeling during the national anthem is a patriotic gesture that has brought attention to racism, particularly through police brutality. It is not about disrespecting veterans.

The NBA has become a punching bag for senators critical of China. Some of that is fair after how the league handled Daryl Morey tweeting support for Hong Kong protesters. But the United States – not just the NBA or Cuban – is deeply entangled with China economically. If senators care about that, they have power to do more effective things than shaming American private businesses and citizens.