Dallas Mavericks' Josh Howard disrespects national anthem

07:11 PM CDT on Wednesday, September 17, 2008

By EDDIE SEFKO / The Dallas Morning News
esefko@dallasnews.com

Josh Howard's decision-making has again come into question after he was filmed disrespecting the national anthem.

And the Mavericks are taking steps to help Howard and their other players avoid controversy in the future.
Mavericks/NBA

Josh Howard on YouTube (note: viewers may find content offensive)

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In a video posted on YouTube, the swingman is shown at Allen Iverson's charity flag football game in July. When the national anthem is being sung, various participants are shown mugging for the camera. When the camera gets to Howard, he says: " 'The Star-Spangled Banner' is going on. I don't celebrate this [expletive]. I'm black."

Howard goes on to make a difficult-to-discern comment that includes a reference to Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

The video comes on the heels of his July arrest for a late-night street race in North Carolina and last season's admission that he is an occasional marijuana user. He also had a birthday bash for himself after the Mavericks lost Game 4 of their playoff series against New Orleans, even though coach Avery Johnson had asked the players to keep extracurricular activities to a minimum during the playoffs.

Owner Mark Cuban said the Mavericks dealt with Howard's flag football episode after it happened in July.

"That said, we will be going through some advanced communication-skill sessions together this training camp," Cuban said Tuesday. "I have explained to him that cellphone cameras are not your friend and that what you think you said on camera is never what people will hear when it shows up on YouTube or TV.

"There is only one universal response that works: 'Both teams played hard.' "

This is not the first time Howard has been cast in an un-American light. He rejected an offer to join the U.S. Olympic team when he said the initial training camp in 2006 conflicted with his summer camps.

Howard's agent, Mark Schwartz, did not return phone messages.

The Mavericks received numerous off-season trade offers for Howard, but almost all were from teams who presumed a low-ball offer might prompt a deal. Team officials have said repeatedly they're not interested in trading Howard.

"Josh really is a good guy with a great heart," Cuban said. "He just doesn't do a good job of showing that side of himself publicly. We will work on that."
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