SANDY, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – Real Salt Lake has fired head coach Mike Petke.
Petke was serving a 3-game suspension for a homophobic slur he said to a referee following last month’s loss to Tigres in the Leagues Cup Tournament.
He was also fined $25,000 and forced to attend anger management courses.
Real Salt Lake issued the following statement and will have no further comment at this time.
“At Real Salt Lake, we have the privilege to represent our great community and fans here locally and on a national and global basis. We hold all of our coaches, players, executives and staff to the highest standards of professionalism. As an organization, it is vital that everyone, particularly our leadership, reflects and embodies our core values and the values of our community, treating all people with respect, civility and professionalism. Moreover, throughout our 15-year history, we have championed diversity, acceptance and inclusion throughout our organization, our stadiums and our community. This is a responsibility that we take very seriously.
“On Tuesday, July 30, after an investigation and in conjunction with Major League Soccer, the club levied the steepest sanctions ever imposed on an MLS coach when we suspended Mike Petke without pay for two weeks in addition to his three-match suspension in MLS and $25,000 fine. After further deliberations and a series of constructive discussions internally and with various members of our community, we have concluded, pursuant to his employment agreement, to immediately terminate Mike Petke’s employment.”
Freddy Juarez was named interim head coach for the remainder of the 2019 season.
Petke was suspended twice before by MLS for outbursts against referees the last two seasons.
Following the July 24th loss to Tigres, Petke went after referee John Pitti and was issued a red card after uttering what many people consider a homophobic slur in Spanish.
Petke was suspended for one game, then had the suspension extended another two games after an MLS investigation.
RSL went 2-0-1 during Petke’s suspension.
Petke was hired by RSL after Jeff Cassar was fired three games into the 2017 season. He ends his Salt Lake tenure with a 36-35-14 record, leading the team to the playoffs in 2018.