In a conversation with supporters at Rio Tinto Stadium on Wednesday night, Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen said he is considering firing RSL coach Mike Petke, according to a video of the discussion shared with RSL Soapbox.
The video, which features Hansen speaking with the supporters following the conclusion of Utah Royals’ victory over Sky Blue FC, shows the conversation taking place near the tunnel on the west side of the field.
The relevant interaction includes a fan urging Hansen to consider firing Petke for his actions following the Leagues Cup match against Tigres UANL, in which he repeatedly shouted a Spanish slur, which is widely considered homophobic, in addition to English obscenities, among other misconduct.
In the video, Hansen says he has met with the club’s management staff, and that he is speaking on Thursday to some of the club’s “key sponsors.”
Hansen indicated multiple times in the discussion that any decision may come down to the club’s “values.”
“(I)f you have a value structure, how far can you bend?” Hansen said.
Describing himself as “not a quick reactor,” Hansen said he prefers to seek input from outside sources.
“Part of my thing is that I’m not a quick reactor,” he said. “When something happens, I don’t feel like I’ve got to immediately jump. I weigh everything, I talk to a lot of people.”
Hansen said he has is considering the views of supporters, among others.
“We’ve polled the millenials closely, the older fans — it’s a deep split,” he said. “Millenials are almost 90 percent out, the older fans are almost 90 percent in. I’ve got two generations in this whole thing, so it’s an interesting conversation.”
Hansen returned to the question of the club’s values.
“Our point is we’re weighing it, but at the end, once it’s all in, it still comes down to our values,” Hansen said.
Petke is nearing the end of a club-issued two-week ban from contact with the organization. He has yet to communicate publicly about the issue.
FAN: Speaking of the best coaches, are you going to fire Petke?
HANSEN: I’d like to say I might cry all the way, but we literally had a meeting today here, the GMs and everyone, kind of reviewing that. Honestly, I’m talking tomorrow to a few of our key sponsors, ... (inaudible) ... Zion.
FAN: There’s no excuse.
HANSEN: There isn’t. Trust me, in my own businesses, nobody ever puts me in a room to fire somebody. They don’t. Cause I’ll lecture the hell out of you, and then I want you to reform, because I hate the consequences of taking things away from people. However, if you have a value structure, how far can you bend?
FAN: We’re years late. He’s been throwing fits for years.
HANSEN: Yeah. Trust me, this is the number three. Trust me.
FAN: Strike three.
FAN 2: I was going to ask you if it was one of those, can you give them another? It’s tough.
HANSEN: Three. The commissioner and I have had many long, heartfelt conversations. Part of my thing is that I’m not a quick reactor. When something happens, I don’t feel like I’ve got to immediately jump. I weigh everything, I talk to a lot of people, (...) We’ve polled the millenials closely, the older fans — it’s a deep split. Millenials are almost 90 percent out, the older fans are almost 90 percent in. I’ve got two generations in this whole thing, so it’s an interesting conversation. Our point is we’re weighing it, but at the end, once it’s all in, it still comes down to our values.
The video ends with fans and Hansen exchanging pleasantries and shaking hands.