SANDY, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – Major League Soccer has launched an investigation into Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen, who is accused of using racist language in an article published by The Athletic.
MLS released the following statement Thursday evening:
We are deeply concerned about the allegations made in a report published this evening concerning language used by and the conduct of Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen. Major League Soccer has zero tolerance for this type of language or conduct and will immediately commence an investigation.
Throughout the article, Hansen is accused of using racist language for many years. Former RSL player and scout Andy Williams, who is black, says Hansen used racist slurs all the time.
Earlier in the day, MLS Commissioner Don Garber issued a statement condemning comments Hansen made this morning on a radio show, in which he said he took “personal offense” to the decision made by RSL and LAFC players to boycott Wednesday night’s game at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Hansen criticized the refusal of many MLS players, including those from RSL and LAFC, to play their scheduled Wednesday matches in protest of the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and as part of the ongoing movement to end police brutality and systemic racism in the United States.
In an interview with KXRK 96.3FM’s “Radio From Hell” show on Thursday morning, Hansen described the protest as “like somebody stabbed you and you’re trying to figure out a way to pull the knife out and move forward. He also accused the players of damaging the club’s efforts to bring people together during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Thursday afternoon, Commissioner Garber released the following statement in response:
I appreciate Dell Loy Hansen’s efforts to build the sport of soccer in Utah. His commitment to MLS, the NWSL and the USL, as well as the game at the youth level, has been significant. However, I strongly disagree with the comments he made today, the way they were expressed, and they do not reflect the views of MLS.
This is a time for all of us to work together in the pursuit of racial equality and social justice. Major League Soccer and all of its clubs will continue to support and create initiatives that enact real change.
Hansen could face a significant fine, or even be forced to sell the team much like Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was forced to do after he was caught on tape using racist language in 2015.
Real Salt Lake is scheduled to play at Portland on Saturday, but it unclear whether or not the game will be played.