SANDY, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen’s comments about last night’s boycott have sparked outrage, including from former goalkeeper Nick Rimando, who said he was “disgusted” by Hansen’s comments.
Real Salt Lake and LAFC decided not to play last night at Rio Tinto Stadium in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Five other MLS games were not played, as the players followed the lead of the Milwaukee Bucks, which prompted three NBA playoff games to be postponed.
Hansen told local radio show “Radio from Hell” on KXRK that last night’s decision not to play the game has “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. Obviously, there’s a profound disappointment that the spirit that is Real was abandoned last night.”
Hansen also said because of the cancellation of last night’s game, 40-50 people from the RSL Foundation will have to be laid off. Hansen also said he doesn’t believe he will allow fans into the stadium the rest of this season to watch games. Some 5,000 fans were expected to watch last night’s game in person.
“I’m sadly disappointed that we didn’t weigh the effect for $12/hour employees, who we shook hands with an hour later and said you won’t have a job here,” Hansen said. “We will not be inviting fans back to the stadium in the future. Monday, I start having to cut 40, 50 jobs again. We would not go through the risk of inviting people back to have that kind of an outcome.”
Hansen went on to tell the radio show, “I take it as a profound slap at our community values structure of trying to build an organization that develops youth, supports the community through our foundations, that reaches to employ 250 people here. And then when it says, there’s another issue in society, why don’t we punish you? While I don’t know that’s the direct intention, that’s the end result.”
Hansen also suggested the team might not travel to Portland this Saturday for a game against the Timbers.
“The implications become profound,” Hansen said. “We don’t know if players will go to Portland. We don’t know that. We’re all sitting here at an organization trying to build support and love around a team that supports the city. All I can say is they supported other issues nationally; they clearly did not support our city or our organization. That’s fairly clear.
It’s a moment of sadness. 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. The disrespect is profound to me personally.”
Former RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando was outraged by Hansen’s comments, tweeting, ““Wow just wow! I can’t even right now. @realsaltlake locker room, fans, and front office that stand for equality, human rights, and the fight against racism I applaud you. I am disgusted by DLH comments. This is more than a game.”
Other players around MLS were also disappointed in Hansen’s comments. Toronto FC and U.S. National Team forward Jozy Altitdore suggested that Hansen should sell the team, and that he is involved in a group that is ready to purchase it.
Even Utah Jazz all-star Donovan Mitchell weighed in, also suggesting that Hansen should sell the team.