SANDY, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – On Sunday, Mike Petke was fired as Real Salt Lake’s head coach.
On Tuesday, Petke fired back.
In his first public comments since his contract was terminated for making an offensive and some would say homophobic slur to a referee, Petke released a statement, saying he apologized to the referee and still hoped to be RSL’s head coach after serving a 3-game suspension.
While I no longer may be the head coach, I continue to believe in the players and want to wish them and Coach Juarez the very best in their pursuit of a place in the post season. This is a tremendous group of athletes and it has been my honor and privilege to work with them. Knowing them as I do, I expect nothing but the best.
On the matter involving the Panamanian official in the game against Tigres, while I’ll never stop bringing passion and all my heart to what I do, it is true that I lost my temper and showed poor judgment. That’s why before my termination, I willingly served the suspension imposed on me by both the league and the team and have already apologized to that official and the league.
Much has been said about the Spanish word I used and different interpretations of it. Regardless of how my actions have been misinterpreted or twisted, I have always respected the rights of all individuals and always will.
I hoped to continue coaching at RSL and, in fact, just after this incident had signed an agreement with the team to do just that. It saddens me that while I held up my end of the bargain, including not speaking publicly about this matter until now, the team has chosen the route of terminating my contract. Team ownership and I will have the chance to discuss the club’s decision in a forum in the future.
To the fans of RSL and the people of Salt Lake, thank you so much for what you have done for me, my family and my team. Your support and energy make possible all the good we have accomplished. And for that, I will always be grateful.
Petke was originally suspended for three games, fined $25,000 and required to attend anger management training.
But Sunday night, Petke was fired by owner Dell Loy Hansen, and Freddy Juarez was named the head coach for the rest of the season.