“As an organization our priority is our people, our teams, our players and our fans, and Mr. Hansen in particular cares deeply about each of these individuals who work so hard to make Utah Soccer the success he is, ”the team said in a statement Friday night. “While these investigations are in progress, and until further notice, Mr. Hansen will take time off from all RSL, URFC and Monarchs operations. The existing Soccer Executive Group in Utah Soccer will assume all management of the organization. ”
The report on Hansen’s behavior came as he drew criticism for comments on a local radio show after Real Salt Lake players protested racial injustice by not taking the pitch for a game.
“It’s like someone stabbed you and then you try to find a way to pull the knife out and move forward.” This is what it does. The disrespect was deep for me, personally, ”Hansen said Thursday morning on X96, a Salt Lake City radio station he owns.
Hansen also suggested that the question could discourage his investment in teams.
Players from Real Salt Lake, Major League Soccer club Hansen and LAFC have decided not to play their game at Rio Tinto Stadium on Wednesday night. It was one of five MLS games canceled as athletes reacted to Jacob Blake’s shot in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Hansen’s radio comments drew quick reprimands.
MLS Commissioner Don Garber released a statement that said, “I appreciate Dell Loy Hansen’s efforts to grow football in Utah. His commitment to MLS, NWSL and USL, as well as the game at the youth level, has been significant. However, I completely disagree with the comments he made today and the way they were expressed. They do not reflect the views of MLS. ”
The Utah Royals, which are part of the National Women’s Soccer League, recently competed in the league’s Challenge Cup tournament, which took place on the team’s property in Utah. Hansen also owns the USL Real Monarchs.
NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird also made a statement.
“Dell Loy Hansen’s remarks regarding player protests conflict with the values of the NWSL,” Baird said. “Black Live Matter, the racism in this country is real, and we must continue the extremely important work of fighting racial injustice in our country.”
But after The Athletic website published an article citing former employees and others who said Hansen made a number of race-insensitive comments and used a racial slur, both leagues said that ‘they would conduct investigations.
The MLS Players’ Association issued a statement calling the allegations “sickening.”
The MLS game scheduled at Rio Tinto on Wednesday was the first to include fans, albeit at a reduced capacity of around 5,000. Hansen suggested on the radio show that he would not allow fans to play games. future and would cut up to 50 jobs as a result.
Former goaltender Nick Rimando and Utah Jazz player Donovan Mitchell were among those who criticized Hansen’s position.
Hansen addressed his own comments later today to another radio station he owns, ESPN700, saying he has since taken a closer look at the issue and apologized if fans thought his statement meant that he didn’t care about the movement to end social injustice.