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Samantha Putterman
By Samantha Putterman July 6, 2021

No, players on the US women’s soccer team didn’t disrespect flag, veteran during national anthem

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  • The players turned in order to face the U.S. flag during the anthem.

In its final soccer match before departing for the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, the United States Women’s National Team defeated Mexico 4-0 as part of a sendoff series in East Hartford, Conn., on July 5.

But it’s something that happened before the game even started that’s got everyone talking.

"Earlier today members of the US Women’s Soccer team turned their backs on the flag as a 98-year-old WWII veteran played the anthem," one Facebook post said hours before it was deleted.

"Disgraceful behaviour from some members of the US womens' soccer team as they turn their backs while 98-year-old World War II veteran Pete DuPré played the National Anthem on his harmonica," reads a popular tweet by the Post Millennial, a conservative Canadian online news magazine.

This is wrong. The players who turned did so to face the U.S. flag.

The posts were flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

As DuPré started to play the national anthem on his harmonica, a handful of U.S. players faced forward, toward him, while others turned to face the U.S. flag, which was displayed next to the jumbotron and Mexico’s flag.

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The U.S. Soccer communications team explained this in a tweet hours after claims started to circulate that the players were protesting the anthem and disrespecting DuPré.

"To be clear, no one turned their back on WWII Veteran Pete DuPré during tonight's anthem," the tweet said. "Some USWNT players were simply looking at the flag on a pole in one end of the stadium. The players all love Pete, thanked him individually after the game and signed a ball for him." Midfielder Carli Lloyd also addressed the claim on Twitter, writing, "we turned because we faced the flag."

The team shared a video of players going up to DuPré to sign a soccer ball for him after the match.

The match was played at Rentschler Field at Pratt & Whitney Stadium. Other images and clips show the flag’s location, and that many fans also turned to face it during the anthem. 

We rate this claim False.

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No, players on the US women’s soccer team didn’t disrespect flag, veteran during national anthem

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