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The Salt: Dell Loy Hansen must go

There is no other option.

Lucas Muller | RSL Soapbox

There was a time when the headline here would have been something that attracted — at the very least — reasoned debate. When Hansen was not a reviled figure at Real Salt Lake.

The curtain has well and truly been pulled back.

Allegations, reported yesterday but the subject of rumor and hearsay for years before anyone went on the record, emerged, reporting that Dell Loy Hansen has a history of racial abuse as owner of Real Salt Lake. Those are reports that have been corroborated elsewhere.

They are reports that many have been afraid to make publicly, owing to the fact that Hansen, a billionaire, controls their livelihood and ability to work in sports — people, some of whom who live in Dell Loy Hansen’s vast empire of apartment complexes in Utah. People that have at times received discounts on their rent by being employees of a Dell Loy Hansen property and living in a Dell Loy Hansen property.

It becomes easy to see why this can be something that bubbles under the surface. It is, however, no longer under the surface. It has erupted, and the world knows the allegations.

The question becomes: What’s next?

There is no option for me as a Real Salt Lake supporter that involves Dell Loy Hansen being involved in the club in any fashion. Each day in which he remains the owner is problematic. I understand that these things can take time — Major League Soccer cannot easily immediately remove Hansen, if just for the mountains of paperwork it will take.

For that reason, it’s a reminder that a small degree of patience will be essential, but it will not be easy.

There are no two ways about it, though. Hansen, when he is forced to sell the team, will likely come out wealthier in the end. The investments Hansen has made in Real Salt Lake — significant, certainly, but not an excuse nor a reason for him to stay in any capacity whatsoever — will raise the selling price of the club. The RSL Academy in Herriman is one such building. Improvements to Rio Tinto Stadium are another such improvement on the value of the club, despite Hansen’s success in achieving a tax break by significantly devaluing the stadium.

There is also the fact that MLS valuations have significantly increased since Hansen took full control of the club in 2013 in a blind bid.

It is often said that Dell Loy Hansen saved the club in 2013 when he took it over from David Checketts, who was prepared with additional investment to take full control. No, the reality is that Hansen as an investor in 2009 was the time in which he kept the club from collapse — although one Michael Eisner may have involved himself in the club had Hansen not intervened — and in 2013, he damned the club to seven years of his ownership.

We need not look further than the allegations of racial abuse from Hansen to understand where this should go. We need not think about the lack of investment in the club. Owners in sports leagues may have different styles, but there is no room for racism.

If the allegations are confirmed, Major League Soccer should not hesitate in terminating Dell Loy Hansen’s relationship with the league. Anything less will be a travesty, and it will be a cause to not just reconsider my support of this team, but to fully reject it without hesitation.

If the allegations are not confirmed, though? We know exactly what he said on Radio From Hell yesterday. He has told us who he is. Let’s listen.