The US Soccer Federation has issued a statement denying that the US women’s soccer team mounted a protest yesterday and turned their backs on the national anthem. Videos of some of the players seeming to turn their back as a 98-year-old Second World War veteran played the harmonica went viral on social media yesterday.
“Some of the players were simply looking at the flag flowing on a pole in the stadium in that direction. They were not looking away from Pete as he played the national anthem,” US Soccer Federation chief communications officer Neil Buethe said.
The team was competing in an Olympic send-off match against Mexico when Pete DuPré played the national anthem on his harmonica and given the past controversies with this team many will have a hard time believing the spokesman trying to clarify what happened.
Many on social media were not happy that Pete was disrespected.
“He did an awesome job. Too bad that some of the USA team that turned their backs on him do not understand what blood was shed so they could have their little protest fit!” one said.
Local World War II Veteran Pete Dupre, known by many as “Harmonica Pete,” turned 98 years old May 12th. Dupre is an ambassador for the Greatest Generations Foundation, and has travelled the world with that group over the past several years. He’s also an advocate for fellow veterans and a supporter of Honor Flight Rochester.
Dupre routinely plays the National Anthem at sporting events all over the country. In this report, Maureen McGuire visits Dupre on his birthday.