Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams may be good at spotting a hole in the defensive line, but he may not be as skilled at spotting fake Marines.
“He just doesn’t know it yet but he will be sitting in this seat when he boards the plane I always give up my 1st class seat! #isalutethetroops!” Mr. Williams posted on Facebook July 7. He included a picture of a man dressed in a dress blue uniform. Immediately, fans of the NFL player with military backgrounds began commenting that he may have been fooled by an impostor.
The website Guardian of Valor, which attempts to identify those who break the Stolen Valor law, also offered its analysis. Its administrators, who are all active duty service members and veterans, concluded that the man who received Mr. Williams first-class ticket was an imposter due to the following problems with his uniform:
• The man in question wears his cover indoors, which Marines do not do unless armed.
• The man in question wears a shooting badge on the right side of said uniform, which is incorrect.
• The man in question wears his Dress Blue Alpha uniform; it is not authorized for leave or liberty.
Another Marine writing for Guardian of Valor posted a picture of the man, saying he ran into him in the Philippines July 1.
“He said he did 30 years and deserved to wear it. […] His Navy Marine Corps Achievement Medal (green with orange stripes) has an odd device attached,” the writer for Guardian of Valor said. “He is wearing a pistol shooting badge, which is not worn on this uniform and is meant to be worn on the left side (He has it on the right). He also has an odd contraption on his right side that has no significance. Further, his white belt is rolled behind his belt buckle. This is odd as Marines have these tailored to their size. Finally, he wears his cover (hat) inside, which no Marine would do, this guy sticks out to Marines.”
The Guardian of Valor website concluded that while the NFL running back’s heart was in the right place, it is extremely likely that he was tricked by a fraud.
“It may be your First Amendment right to lie about service to this country, and medals earned, but it is our First Amendment right to show the world your lies,” the website’s mission statement page reads.