Website invents controversy over U.S. women's soccer team's anthem stance in East Hartford

·2 min read

Jul. 6—Sometimes, a picture is worth 1,000 words.

Other times, those words don't match the picture.

The U.S. women's national soccer team beat Mexico 4-0 in an Olympic tune-up at East Hartford's Pratt & Whitney Stadium Monday night. When a few photos of the American squad were posted following the game, a handful of news outlets posted stories about how some members of the team turned the backs on the flag, or perhaps a 98-year-old veteran who performed the national anthem, Peter DuPre.

The far-right website Breitbart posted a story early Tuesday headlined "Members of U.S. Women's Soccer team turn away from the flag as WWII vet plays anthem." The accompanying story said the players staged a "protest," and highlighted the incident as "not the first time U.S. athletes have snubbed the flag."

In fact, hammer thrower Gwen Berry did turn away during the playing of the national anthem following her third-place finish at the Olympic trials. However, Monday's anthem in East Hartford was clearly, to almost every observer, not accompanied by any sort of protest.

Some members of the team turned to face the flag during DuPre's performance. The remainder were focused on him.

U.S. Soccer's communications department released a statement later on Tuesday to dispute Breitbart's story.

"To be clear, no one turned their back on WWII Veteran Pete DuPre during tonight's anthem," the statement read. "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."

Neill covers UConn men's basketball and UConn football teams, and he keeps a finger on the pulse of Connecticut sports. For live game updates, and more insight into UConn athletics, player transfers, and team changes, follow Neill on Twitter: @NeillOstrout, Facebook: JINeillO, and Instagram: @NeillOstrout.

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