The Post Millennial, a Montreal-based conservative online news site, instigated a faux controversy Monday night by claiming video shows the U.S Women’s soccer team “turn their backs to [a] 98-year-old WWII vet playing the national anthem.”
In reality, most of the team was turned toward the American flag in front of them. Others, with hands on hearts, watched 98-year-old World War II veteran Pete DuPre deliver a beautiful rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” on a harmonica.
Communications reps for U.S. Soccer tried to scuttle the bogus story on social media, explaining clearly what actually happened at Pratt & Whitney Stadium in East Hartford, Conn., in which the U.S. beat Mexico 4-0.
“Not true. No one turned their back on WWII Veteran Pete DuPré during tonight’s anthem,” the U.S. Soccer Comms Twitter feed posted. “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.”
In fact, U.S. Soccer later posted video of each player thanking the veteran, sitting in a wheelchair before they loaded the team bus after the game.
“This is respect. Each and every player waited for their opportunity to come up to Pete postgame before getting on the bus, said hello, thanked him and signed his ball,” U.S. Soccer posted.