U.S. Soccer debunks viral lie that USWNT players turned backs during national anthem

No, members of the United States Women's National Team did not turn their backs on the World War II veteran performing the national anthem before the team's game on Monday.

Members of the right-wing social media ecosystem tried to claim that players turned their backs to 98-year-old anthem performer Pete DuPre ahead of the 4-0 win against Mexico. Even a former Acting Director of National Intelligence for ex-president Donald Trump got in on the action in an attempt to incorrectly smear the members of the team. 

98-year-old World War II veteran Pete DuPré played the national anthem on a harmonica before the @USWNT’s Olympic send-off match 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/wnrOnZJhkC

— ESPN (@espn) July 5, 2021

Monday's game was played at UConn's Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut. Myriad players for the USWNT turned toward the United States flag at one of the ends of the stadium during the anthem while others stood and faced DuPre as he performed the anthem. Some of members of the team who turned toward the flag even had their hands on their hearts. 

It was pretty obvious what was happening in real-time. A United States flag is located by the scoreboard at Rentschler Field. You can see it to the left of the scoreboard next to the Mexico flag. 

It was a repeat of what players did on Thursday in a previous game against Mexico at Rentschler field. As you can see below, Alex Morgan (13) and Lindsey Horan (9) are turned to face the flag with their hands over their hearts while Christen Press is facing the performer. 

You don't need me to tell you that it's perfectly appropriate to turn and face the flag during the national anthem. 

Yet the circumstances and the truth didn't stop people from trying to generate faux outrage about the United States national team. After the game, U.S. Soccer took to Twitter to make it clear that the lies being spread were simply that: lies.

To be clear, no one turned their back on WWII Veteran Pete DuPré during tonight's anthem. 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.

— U.S. Soccer Comms (@ussoccer_comms) July 6, 2021

U.S. Soccer even shared a video of the players signing autographs for DuPre.

This is respect. Each and every player waited for their opportunity to come up to Pete post-game before getting on the bus, said hello, thanked him and signed his ball. https://t.co/0fhtkTSxIF

— U.S. Soccer Comms (@ussoccer_comms) July 6, 2021

Monday's game was the final game on U.S. soil for the women's team before it plays in the Tokyo Olympics. It was part of a send-off series ahead of the Olympics as the USWNT begins Olympic play on July 21 at 4:30 a.m. ET against Sweden. 

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