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Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Howard's anthem comments in YouTube video draw response from Mavs

ESPN.com news services

DALLAS -- A YouTube video from a charity flag football game in July has Dallas Mavericks forward Josh Howard embroiled in controversy yet again.

The video, from Allen Iverson's event, shows Howard, as the national anthem is being sung, saying: "'The Star-Spangled Banner' is going on. I don't celebrate this [expletive]. I'm black." Howard also makes a hard-to-hear reference to Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama (see the video here; some viewers may find content offensive).

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said, according to The Dallas Morning News, that the team dealt with Howard at the time of the incident. He added that the team has a plan in place to address the issue at training camp.

"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 cell phone 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."

Howard's agent, Jeff Schwartz, did not immediately return a phone call from The Associated Press seeking comment. Donnie Nelson, the Mavericks' president of basketball operations, directed questions to team owner Mark Cuban, who in an e-mail declined to comment to the AP.

Also in July, Howard was arrested and charged with speeding (94 mph in a 55 mph zone), careless and reckless driving, and speed competition in North Carolina. He was released from jail on a written promise to appear in court Sept. 23.

In that incident, police said an officer saw a black Lexus and a silver Volkswagen speeding along U.S. 421. The officer stopped the Lexus, and Howard was identified as the driver.

Howard was criticized last season for saying in a radio interview during a first-round playoff series against New Orleans that he occasionally smokes marijuana. Later that same series, he angered coach Avery Johnson by throwing himself a birthday bash after a Game 4 loss to the Hornets.

And in 2006, Howard opted out of playing for the U.S. Olympic team program, reportedly because he said it conflicted with his summer training camps.

Information from The Associated Press is included in this report