New on Sports Illustrated: Real Salt Lake Owner Dell Loy Hansen Takes Leave of Absence During Investigation into Racist Comments

August 29, 2020 at 06:17AM

Hansen said he felt "disrespected" after Real Salt Lake players chose not to play Wednesday's game. He was later accused of making racist comments in a report from The Athletic.

Dell Loy Hansen, owner of Utah soccer clubs Real Salt Lake, Utah Royals FC and Real Monarchs, is taking a leave of absence as the MLS, NWSL and USL launch and investigation into allegations of racist comments during his ownership tenure.

“As MLS and NWSL commence their investigations, Utah Soccer will ensure full cooperation, including seeking to answer any questions the leagues may have about the statements made by Mr. Hansen regarding athlete boycotts and allegations in a resulting article," the statement read. "As an organization, our priority is our employees, our teams, our players, and our fans, and Mr. Hansen in particular cares deeply for each of these individuals who works so hard to make Utah Soccer the success that it is.

“During the pendency of these investigations, and until further notice, Mr. Hansen will be taking a leave of absence from all RSL, URFC, and Monarchs operations. The existing Soccer Executive Group at Utah Soccer will assume all management of the organization.”

Hansen said he felt "disrespected" after Real Salt Lake players chose not to play in Wednesday's scheduled game in protest of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis.

"All I can say is they supported other issues nationally; they clearly did not support our city or our organization," Hansen said on Wednesday. "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."

Later in the day, The Athletic reported a series of allegations that Hansen had repeatedly made racist comments in the presence of team employees. MLS and the NWSL announced they would launch investigations into the veracity of those accusations.

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