- MLS and NWSL players are calling for the removal of one of the leagues’ franchise owners.
- Dell Loy Hansen – the owner of Real Salt Lake and Utah Royals FC – came under fire after lashing out at players for boycotting Wednesday night’s game to protest the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
- Hansen said he felt “disrespected” and betrayed by the team but later admitted that “the players’ intentions were probably misinterpreted on my side.”
- Thursday evening, a former club employee called Hansen a “f—— racist” and “Donald Sterling part two” in a damning article from The Athletic.
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MLS and NWSL players are united in their call for the removal of one of their team owners.
Dell Loy Hansen – the owner of MLS club Real Salt Lake and the NWSL’s Utah Royals FC – has come under fire after lashing out at his players for boycotting Wednesday night’s RSL vs. LAFC match to protest the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Though the Utah native and businessman has since walked back some of his harsh statements towards his team, he finds himself in even hotter water thanks to new information released Thursday evening.
In a damning story published by The Athletic, former employees and athletes who worked under Hansen at Real Salt Lake accused the franchise owner of problematic and racist behaviour.
“That’s just how he is,” former RSL employee Andy Williams, who is Black, told The Athletic. “He’s a f—— racist, to be honest. I’ve been in situations where it’s like [former LA Clippers owner] Donald Sterling. He says something, and it’s like, ‘Oh my God, what did he just say?’ It’s Donald Sterling part two. It’s just unbelievable. It’s crazy how he doesn’t see that the stuff that he says affects people.”
Williams recalled witnessing Hansen use the n-word and make a joke about lynching a Black opponent. A former RSL player, who is also Black, said Hansen once told him he looked like a “thug” during his time with the club.
In light of The Athletic’s reporting, the MLS and NWSL players associations called on their respective leagues to investigate Hansen. Should they corroborate allegations mentioned in the article, both groups called on the leagues to take swift action.
— NWSLPA (@nwsl_players) August 28, 2020
Later, both MLS and the NWSL committed to investigating Hansen.
Major League Soccer Statement on Dell Loy Hansen pic.twitter.com/FV7Hqph6q9
— MLS Communications (@MLS_PR) August 28, 2020
— NWSL (@NWSL) August 28, 2020
The inquiries into racist allegations against Hansen come amidst the owner’s continued crusade to mitigate damage caused by his derogatory comments about RSL players’ boycott. In an interview with local show “Radio From Hell” Thursday morning, Hansen said he felt “profound disappointment” in response to learning his players had chosen to use their platforms to protest.
“It’s a moment of sadness,” Hansen said, per The Salt Lake Tribune’s Alex Vejar. “It’s like someone stabbed you, and then you’re trying to figure out a way to pull the knife out and move forward. That’s what it feels like. The disrespect was profound to me personally.”
Later that evening, Hansen admitted in a radio interview with a different show that “the players’ intentions were probably misinterpreted on my side.” Still, many in the MLS and NWSL worlds were dissatisfied with his apology, including players from his own club. RSL’s Nedum Onuoha said “if [Hansen’s] literally not with us, I have no desire to be in this space at all” while Royals rookie Tziarra King said Hansen’s attempt to “take this very real situation for the Black community and try to turn it around and make it about himself is completely unacceptable.”
MLS was reportedly considering taking action against Hansen even before The Athletic’s report was published. The MLS Board of Governors planned to convene Thursday evening to discuss Wednesday’s game postponements and inevitably was forced to address Hansen’s uncertain future in the league. It appears increasingly doubtful that he’ll still be at the helm of Real Salt Lake and Utah Royals FC next time the teams take the pitch.
- Read more:
- An MLS owner spoke out against his players and cancelled training at team facilities after they boycotted to protest the police shooting of Jacob Blake
- The reigning WNBA Coach of the Year said there would be more outrage ‘if Jacob Blake was a dog’ in an emotional interview before the players’ strike
- The WNBA’s Washington Mystics wore shirts with bullet holes while leading the league to strike for Jacob Blake
- Naomi Osaka was 2 matches away from winning a tournament but dropped out at the last minute in protest of police violence
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