Posts falsely accuse United States women’s football team of disrespecting veteran during anthem

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Ahead of a July 5 game against Mexico, some members of the United States women’s soccer team turned to the flag as a World War II veteran played the national anthem on his harmonica. But the social media posts twisted their actions saying they had “turned their backs” on the veteran.


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The United States Women’s National Team, or USWNT, played their last football game before the Olympics on July 5 in East Hartford, Connecticut. They won the game against Mexico 4-0. But the false claims of their conduct before the game drew unwarranted criticism on social media.

Before the game, WWII veteran Pete DuPré played the US national anthem on his harmonica. Some organizations and individuals on social media contested the position of the players during the performance.

A Facebook page called Hold the Line posted a ESPN Video of the national anthem alongside the legend, “WHAT A SHAME FOR AMERICA!” Members of the United States Women’s National Football Team turned their backs on Pete DuPré (a 98-year-old WWII veteran) as he played the national anthem on his harmonica. Who agrees that we have to keep the clock OUT of the Olympics ??? #Stay on the line.”

Holding the line was based by missionary and musician Sean Feucht, who describes it as a “political militant movement seeking to rally the world church to engage in its civic duty – to vote and defend the causes of righteousness and justice in the government arena “.

People on Facebook and Twitter have made similar claims, calling the team’s alleged behavior “shameful,” “Disrespectful” and a “new low”, with some comments calling for players to be removed from the squad or for the entire squad to be “disqualified”.

But these messages misinterpreted what the players were doing. Instead of turning their backs on DuPré, some of the team had turned to the American flag at the end of the field, which is consistent with the national anthem etiquette recommended for non-military personnel by american law.

United States Code 36 USC § 301 states: “Those present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over their heart. … When the flag is not unfurled, everyone present should face the music and act the same as they would if the flag were unfurled. “

The flag is visible next to the dashboard in other videos of the game, and a different video of the national anthem performance shows the players turning around applaud for DuPré after you finish playing.

The US Soccer communications team also responded to social media claims, writing on Twitter that “no one turned their backs on WWII veteran Pete DuPré during tonight’s hymn.” Some USWNT players were simply looking at the flag on a pole at one end of the stadium. The players all love Pete, thanked him individually after the game and signed a ball for him.

In other videos posted to the USWNT’s Twitter feed, team members are shown shake hands with DuPré upon their arrival and thanking and sign him a soccer ball as they left.

Editor’s Note: FactCheck.org is one of many organizations work with facebook to demystify the disinformation shared on social networks. Our previous stories can be found here.

Sources

98-year-old WWII veteran Pete DuPré performed the national anthem on harmonica ahead of the @ USWNT Olympic farewell match. ESPN Twitter. Jul 5, 2021.

“The dominant first half leads the United States Women’s National Team to a 4-0 victory over Mexico in the final pre-Olympic game to conclude the WNT 2021 sendoff series, presented by VISA.” USsoccer.com. Jul 5, 2021.

Feucht, Sean. “About.»Seanfeucht.com. Accessed July 7, 2021.

36 US Code § 301 – National Anthem.”Institute for Legal Information, Cornell Law School. Accessed July 7, 2021.

Thanks, Connecticut!”US Soccer WNT Twitter. Jul 5, 2021.

Thanks, Pete!”US Soccer WNT Twitter. Jul 5, 2021.

To be clear, no one turned their backs on WWII veteran Pete DuPré during tonight’s anthem. Some USWNT players were simply looking at the flag on a pole at one end of the stadium. The players all love Pete, thanked him individually after the game and signed a ball for him.”US Soccer Comms Twitter. Jul 5, 2021.

The Gals are here and so is Pete!”US Soccer WNT Twitter. Jul 5, 2021.

Video. American Football WNT Twitter. Jul 5, 2021.



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