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US women’s soccer team did not snub veteran playing national anthem

July 6, 2021 GMT

CLAIM: Players on the U.S. women’s national soccer team “turned their backs” on a World War II veteran playing the national anthem at a game Monday.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The players turned to face an American flag located near the stadium’s scoreboard during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

THE FACTS: The United States defeated Mexico 4-0 on Monday, during the women’s final match before the Olympics. Following the match, false posts circulated on social media claiming members of the team turned their backs on WWII veteran Pete DuPré as he played his rendition of the national anthem on a harmonica. Players on Mexico’s national team also turned to face their flag located near the scoreboard at the Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut, during the playing of their national anthem.

Multiple Facebook users claimed that members of the team turned their backs on a veteran.

“Several members of the U.S. womens national soccer team turned their backs on a 98 year old World War 2 veteran as he played the national anthem on his harmonica,” a Facebook user wrote.

The false claim also circulated widely on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. Several media outlets also wrote about the false claim.

“Not true. No one turned their back on WWII Veteran Pete DuPré during tonight’s anthem,” the U.S. soccer communications team tweeted on Monday night. “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.”

“We turned because we faced the flag,” tweeted Carli Lloyd, a player for the U.S. team, Monday night.

Video also showed the soccer players greeting DuPré after the game and signing a soccer ball.

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.


Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536