What a day it’s been in the Real Salt Lake world. In the case you’ve been on a complete media blackout for the last 24 hours, we’ve got you covered so you can catch up all in one place.
Wednesday night: MLS games postponed for player protests
In response to the unjust shooting of 29-year-old Jacob Blake in Wisconsin earlier this week, five of the six MLS games from Wednesday night were postponed as teams refused to take the field in solidarity with other sports leagues around the country. Games in the WNBA, NBA, and MLB were all postponed to show support as the players used their voices to stand up against inequality and racial injustice.
Thursday morning: Dell Loy Hansen speaks out against the protest on X96’s Radio From Hell
Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen, along with Chief Business Officer Andy Carroll, appeared on X96’s Radio From Hell morning show to air some grievances about what took place at the stadium the night before. He publicly came out against the decision to protest and cancel the game, citing that the players “supported other issues nationally, but they clearly did not support our city or our organization.”
He went on to liken it to being stabbed: “you’re trying to figure out a way to pull the knife out and move forward.” Adding, “the disrespect is profound to me, personally.”
The interview was later removed from YouTube, which is no surprise seeing as X96 is just one of the radio stations Dell Loy happens to own in Utah. Luckily, we posted the full transcript earlier today.
Backlash ensues from fans and prominent figures in MLS
It took no time at all for the uproar to begin, and rightfully so. Fans all across the social media universe began calling for DLH to step down and sell the team. Even statements from inside the club, including responses from Nedum Onuoha and Nick Rimando surfaced. (Yes, I know Nick Rimando isn’t technically “inside the club” now, but... come on.)
Other figures spoke up including Jozy Altidore, Donovan Mitchell, Nat Borchers, and Chris Wondolowski. Rumors surfaced about MLS potentially initiating a take-over of RSL and forcing Dell Loy out of ownership, which is something well within the league’s power.
Dell Loy appears on ESPN700 — another radio station he owns
Feeling just how intensely he’d hurt and enraged the club and its fanbase, Dell Loy attempted to clarify himself in an interview with Spence Checketts on ESPN 700 this afternoon. It did not go well, to put it mildly.
While Checketts let Dell Loy speak his mind, Hansen seemed to only make things worse as he talked about the journey to the “Covid Comeback” as he called it, and the way he tried to get fans back in attendance at the stadium only to have it taken away at the last second. He continued to talk about losing millions of dollars in advertising revenue, while seeming to place blame on players like Nedum Onuoha and Zac MacMath for certain events that occurred.
You can hear the interview in full on ESPN700’s website.
Onuoha himself appeared on ESPN700 with Checketts immediately after Hansen’s interview, saying that he hasn’t changed his mind and doesn’t feel any differently after Hansen’s comments this afternoon.
Andy Williams interviews with Tom Hackett on the KSL Sports Facebook page
If you haven’t heard the Andy Williams interview yet, well, you just need to hear it. Or read it. It’s a scathing tale regarding everything from Hansen being racist to being cheap and not caring about the club winning games or trophies.
Williams is the team’s head scout and says that Hansen has been unwilling to invest in the club’s scouting. Williams hasn’t heard from anyone at the club since he got furloughed in April, so of course when he’s contacted today you can imagine what’s racing through his head with all the circumstances surrounding it.
Stories of racist interactions over the years begin to emerge, The Athletic publishes an article
Just when you thought things might slow down a bit, someone put their foot on the proverbial gas pedal. Twitter threads began to spread, recounting interactions involving Hansen making incredibly racist and insensitive remarks, or acting inappropriately toward fans or employees.
A thread worth reading:
Reply to this tweet with stories of Dell Loy Hansen mistreating you or someone you know.— Andy Larsen (@andyblarsen) August 27, 2020
The Athletic published a must-read article with more stories of the same nature, claiming Hansen used the “n-word” more than once. It also tells how he made a horrific joke to MLS player Kellyn Acosta’s face, asking “When are we gonna lynch this guy?”
Once that article came out, things began to spread even quicker like wildfire, with more and more national media outlets picking up the story.
An investigation is launched
On the heels of the Athletic article and statements from the MLS Players’ Association and NWSL Players’ Association calling for Hansen’s suspension and an investigation, MLS did just that. They released a statement citing an immediate investigation due to the language and conduct released in the aforementioned article.
The full statement:
We are deeply concerned about the allegations made in a report published this evening concerning language used by and the conduct of Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen. Major League Soccer has zero tolerance for this type of language or conduct and will immediately commence an investigation.
So, what now?
It’s hard to say what’s going to happen next. If I were a betting man, I’d put all my money on Hansen being forced out of ownership in the very near future. Who knows where that will leave the club, as we’ve already seen Jozy Altidore show interest in making a purchase. He certainly won’t be the only one who’s interested. Many have called for the Larry H. Miller Group (who own the Utah Jazz) to step in to provide some extra stability and ensure the club will stay in Utah.
This isn’t the end of the story — not by a long shot. Stay tuned and we’ll keep you updated as quickly as humanly possible.