Members of the USWNT Turn During the National Anthem Played By 98-Year-Old WWII Vet ‘Harmonica Pete’ Before Soccer Match Against Mexico, U.S. Soccer Refutes Protest Claims

Update, 1:10 PM ET 7/6/2021: “U.S. Soccer Comms” has claimed on Twitter that no one turned their back on the WWII Veteran and that it was not correctly perceived by some commentators according to their statement:

“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.”

Many will likely still claim this is just damage control and at this point, it’s going to be something argued about for some time. The official story now, however, is that there was no protest.

Original story:

Fans were livid today after members of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team turned their backs during the national anthem played by a 98-year-old “Harmonica Pete” before a match against Mexico.

ESPN tweeted out video of the anthem without noting the alleged protest and said, “98-year-old World War II veteran Pete DuPré played the national anthem on a harmonica before the @USWNT’s Olympic send-off match.”

Sports fan and Twitter user Addison Butler provided one of the top responses to the video as he summed up the thoughts of many.

“And some the USWNT turned their backs to it. Meanwhile Mexico, a country with much less quality of life than America, sung every word of theirs. Welcome to America,” Butler said.

Twitter user “Saultboy” explained, “All I see are the privileged few elite American soccer players not placing their hands over their hearts for their country that chose them to represent. Nice.”

Another Twitter user, Kathryn Jones, mentioned the fact that it was an Olympic send-off match and offered an opinion that is shared by many.

Jones remarked, “Well all i can say is, they must be playing for their egos, cause, they clearly are denouncing, my country. If you go to the Olympics, you represent your country, if you hate what USA represents, I hear England looking for practice squad.”

News 8 WROC previously reported that local World War II Veteran Pete Dupre, known by many as “Harmonica Pete,” turned 98 years old on May 12th.

Dupre is an ambassador for the Greatest Generations Foundation, having traveled the world with that group over the past several years, as well as being an advocate for fellow veterans and a supporter of Honor Flight Rochester.

The news outlet also reported that Dupre routinely plays the National Anthem at sporting events all over the country.