Pete DuPré: US women's soccer team slammed for 'disrespecting' WWII vet playing national anthem

US women's soccer team came under fire as some of the members reportedly turned away from WWII veteran Pete DuPré when he was playing national anthem

                            Pete DuPré: US women's soccer team slammed for 'disrespecting' WWII vet playing national anthem
Players #11 and #2 reportedly turned away from WWII veteran Pete DuPré (Twitter/ @LMFireSystems1)

Just ahead of the Tokyo Olympic send-off match versus Mexico, several members of the US women's soccer team seemed to have turned away as 98-year-old World War II veteran Pete DuPré played the national anthem on his harmonica on Monday, July 5, 2021.

DuPré, who is known as the viral musician "Harmonica Pete", reached the stage on a wheelchair due to his age and got on the microphone with the wind instrument in hand. Fans gave him a standing ovation to show their respect as he played the patriotic tune. However, many Twitter users noticed that Mexico's national team showed DuPré and America more respect than several members of Team USA. Many deemed it "sad and pathetic" that some of the soccer players on USA's team reportedly snubbed the veteran's performance of 'The Star-Spangled Banner' by turning away from him. 


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The game took place in front of a huge crowd that saw USA beat Mexico 4-0 again at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut. But the victory was not a sweet one for 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," one user commented in response to ESPN's video of the rendition.


"If you don't feel the US represents your values and you want to protest by turning away from the flag, fine..." another Twitter user wrote, adding, "What confuses me is why you'd choose to represent that same country on a national level." Another added, "I'd rather field a team with less talent that wants to represent us than talented people playing for themselves. Those that turned away should be replaced." Yet another added, "Some players don’t even respect the country that they play for… embarrassing they can’t even show respect to the 98 year old War vet." Another said, "@USWNT go to hell. What a disrespectful bunch of bitches. Turn your privileged backs on a WWII veteran playing the nation anthem. Don’t watch. Won’t watch. You’re disgusting and shouldn’t be representing our country."





Another user added that that particular moment was perhaps not the best one to protest. "But my goodness, find a different time to protest. The dude watched his friends die around him. At the least, show him some respect. Shows how we don’t deserve this country and the veterans that died for it." Another added, "God bless him. Let’s celebrate him and nation he served & give no special attention to the handful of ingrates who turned away as he performed."



Following the backlash, former acting director of National Intelligence (DNI) Richard Grenell tweeted that players #11 and #2 turned away from the American flag. At the same time, he praised DuPré "who risked his life so these self-obsessed children could disrespect America".


The US Soccer Communications responded to the backlash saying, "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."


Grenell responded to this statement and said: "Several players turned away from honoring the US flag and the US national anthem he was playing. Not one of those who snubbed the flag & anthem tuned toward Pete. Pete was to their left. (See below). They aren’t turned to him. (Every Mexican player turned for their anthem)."


And like Grenell, many disagreed as well. "They turned away. 100%. Mexico all facing one direction. @USWNT NOT. You can’t spin this," one user wrote. 


Monday marked Team USA's final match before the Olympics commence later this month. As per reports, the all-women lineup will depart for Japan to begin training later in the week.