SALT LAKE CITY (UPI) —
Dell Loy Hansen, the owner of Utah MLS, NWSL and USL teams, plans to sell the clubs after a report claimed he used racist language around team employees and made admittedly “insensitive” remarks about player protests.
Hansen announced Sunday
that he would sell Utah Soccer Holdings, which owns Major League Soccer’s Real Salt Lake, Utah Royals FC of the National Women’s Soccer League and the Real Monarchs of the United Soccer League.
The decision came after The Athletic
detailed Hansen’s repeated alleged use of racist language around team employees. The report emerged after Hansen also criticized player-led walkouts in MLS to protest racial injustice.
On Thursday, MLS announced an investigation into Hansen after the allegations from the employees cited in The Athletic. Hansen also took a leave of absence from his teams at the start of the investigation.
Hansen apologized Monday in a statement he released to announce plans to sell the teams.
“I recognize that at times I have spoken too quickly, without pausing to consider the feelings or good intentions of others,” Hansen said. “This is not acceptable and I assume full responsibility for allowing my words to travel unfiltered as to their significance and impact.
“I believe that communities are strengthened by diversity. I am truly sorry for offending and being insensitive to the plight of others. I seek to do better and commit to supporting and improving diversity and inclusion in my own community going forward.
“After deep consideration and soul-searching, my wife Julie and I agree that the best way forward for the Real Salt Lake family is to assume new ownership and a refreshed vision.”
Hasen called the MLS protests disrespectful Thursday during a radio show interview a day after Real Salt Lake and LAFC decided not to play a match in response to the police-involved shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.
“It’s like someone stabbed you and then you’re trying to figure out a way to pull the knife out and move forward,” Hansen told X96 in Salt Lake City
. “That’s what it feels like. The disrespect was profound to me, personally.”
Hansen’s comments drew criticism from MLS players — and athletes in other sports — as well as from MLS commissioner Don Garber, who said he “strongly” disagreed with Hansen and his views did not reflect those of the soccer league. NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird criticized of Hansen’s remarks.
Hansen acquired full ownership of Real Salt Lake in 2013. He acquired the NWSL’s FC Kansas City in 2017 before he moved the team to Salt Lake City.
Reporting by Alex Butler
United Press International is an international news agency whose newswires, photo, news film, and audio services provided news material to thousands of newspapers, magazines and radio and television stations for most of the 20th century.