Real Salt Lake owner to be investigated for alleged racist comments

Aug 27, 2020, 9:00 PM
Real Salt Lake Owner...
(Kristin Murphy, KSL file)
(Kristin Murphy, KSL file)

SANDY – A public apology from Real Salt Lake Owner Dell Loy Hansen.  He’s walking back some of the harsh criticism he had about the players deciding to boycott Wednesday night’s game in the wake of the Jacob Blake shooting in Wisconsin. 

The controversy started Thursday morning when Hansen and RSL Chief Business Officer Andrew Carroll spoke on X96 about the game’s cancellation.  Hansen’s initial criticism of the team was quite harsh and it was obvious he took the boycott personally. 

The original comments

“It’s like somebody stabbed you and you’re trying to figure out a way to pull the knife out and move forward.  That’s what it feels like,” Hansen told X96.  “The disrespect is profound to me, personally.”

At the time, Hansen said the team would not be inviting guests back to Rio Tinto Stadium, and that he would have to cut 40 to 50 jobs because of it.  Hansen said the club wouldn’t risk inviting people back just to have the same outcome they saw Wednesday night.

“All I can say is [the players] supported other issues nationally, they clearly did not support our city or our organization.  That’s fairly clear,” he said.

Plus, he hinted he was losing interest in building the team.

Hansen stated, “It’s taken a lot of wind out of my sails, what effort I want to put into recruiting players and building a great team.  It just seems that’s not a very good path to take.”

Player and fan reaction

These comments infuriated former RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando.  On Twitter, he posted, “I am disgusted by DLH comments.  This is more than a game.” 

Defender Nedum Onuoha reportedly told the BBC he no longer wanted to play here. 

Utah Jazz Guard Donovan Mitchell tweeted that Hansen should sell the team, and former US Men’s National Team member Jozy Altidore posted that he’s involved in a group that’s ready to purchase it.

One fan tells KSL she has been frustrated with Hansen as an owner for several years.  She sold off her season tickets and believes the team would be better off with a different owner.

“He truly doesn’t care about the team or the players.  This is a financial position for him,” she says.

KSL Sports Contributor Tom Hackett hosted a Facebook Live discussion about Hansen’s comments and while there were some that said they understood Hansen’s frustration as a team owner, the overwhelming majority of the comments sided with the players.  Hackett says Hansen has a reputation for being too focused on the bottom line.

“He’s a true businessman, which is, maybe, one of the reasons he’s a billionaire, but he doesn’t have a great reputation with the fanbase,” Hackett says.

Former RSL Spokesman Trey Fitzgerald doesn’t believe Hansen deserves the reputation of a cheapskate.  He says Hansen has made a lot of improvement to training grounds, soccer academies and he established the Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman for the Real Monarchs.  Fitzgerald says Hansen also brought women’s soccer to Utah with the Utah Royals FC.

Fitzgerald says, “When you look at facilities, teams, employees and community outreach initiatives, he has done a lot.”

However, Fitzgerald says Hansen’s comments on Thursday morning were tone-deaf.

“His comments created, I’m certain, a large disconnect between him and the locker room,” he says.

The apology

Hansen did another on-air interview Thursday afternoon, this time on ESPN 700.  He told host Spence Checketts he was too focused on how the team would be able to pay for the best team possible.

“We need to have the most economic resources possible to build that team and we should work hard to find those resources,” Hansen said.

However, he acknowledges he didn’t pay close enough attention to the team’s message about police brutality and too much attention on his other staff members and the people who went to the stadium to see the game.

He said, “I think that got in the way of the bigger statement that sports is making with the NBA that I really didn’t take time to focus on.  I saw the man in the stands and not the overall movement in sports to say, ‘Enough is enough, and it’s way beyond enough.’”

Despite the apology, MLS is conducting an investigation in Hansen after a scathing article in The Athletic.  The authors, which include former RSL staff members, say Hansen has a history of racist comments.

RSL Soapbox says MLS will conduct an immediate investigation.

Today’s Top Stories

Real Salt Lake

Real Salt Lake green Jell-O pin...
Samantha Herrera

Real Salt Lake pin will raise money for the Utah Food Bank

A new green Jell-O Real Salt Lake pin will raise money to help Utans in need. A portion of the pin's proceeds will go to the Utah Food Bank.
2 months ago
Liga MX Rio Tinto Real Salt Lake...
Mark Jones

Real Salt Lake to raise money for suicide prevention

Long time Real Salt Lake fan Branden Steineckert is helping the team raise funds for suicide prevention.
5 months ago
Liga MX new real salt lake owners...
Paul Nelson

New Real Salt Lake owners excited for the team’s future, MLS officials say partnership is ‘the perfect fit’

In their first address to the media, the new Real Salt Lake owners shared their vision for the club and their new stewardship. 
9 months ago
Liga MX Rio Tinto Real Salt Lake...
Paul Nelson

Group of investors reportedly agree to purchase Real Salt Lake

Many details about the purchase of Real Salt Lake are slow in coming, but one thing is clear -- the team is staying in Salt Lake.
11 months ago
Liga MX Rio Tinto Real Salt Lake...
Madeleine Porter

Real Salt Lake wants you to wear blue for home opener

Real Salt Lake announced Wednesday they have turned the once white seats on the home, or east side, of their stadium blue.
1 year ago
Kyle Beckerman...
Paul Nelson

Real Salt Lake excited for new owners according to captain

While the rumors are swirling about who the new Real Salt Lake owners will be, players and coaches keep their focus on things they can control. 
2 years ago

Sponsored Articles

a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Real Salt Lake owner to be investigated for alleged racist comments