September 28, 2021

‘I don’t want to be here’ – Onuoha wants Real Salt Lake exit after owner’s Black Lives Matter rant

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Utah Royals rookie Tziarra King also took aim at Dell Loy Hansen, who owns both RSL and the NWSL outfit

Real Salt Lake defender Nedum Onuoha has said he does not want to play for the club anymore after owner Dell Loy Hansen ripped his team for boycotting their game on Wednesday night. 

RSL did not play their match against Los Angeles FC, part of a larger movement across American sports in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin on Sunday.

Games across the NBA, WNBA, MLB and MLS were called off as players protested an incident in which Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, was shot seven times in the back and left seriously injured.

Hansen, however, did not respond kindly to seeing his team refuse to play, saying: “The disrespect is profound to me personally.

“It’s taken a lot of wind out of my sails, what effort I want to put into recruiting players and building a great team. It just seems that’s not a very good path to take.”

Onuoha, formerly of Manchester City and QPR, admitted that he has been forced to consider his future after hearing his owner’s comments.

“I don’t want to be here because I’m not here to play for someone who isn’t here to support us,” ex-Manchester City player Onuoha told BBC World Service.

“We are trying to create a bigger conversation but a lot of the people who are in power don’t empathise or sympathise or do anything. They are more concerned with themselves.”

Hansen is also the owner of NWSL side Utah Royals FC, and rookie attacker Tziarra King took to Twitter to criticise her team’s owner.

“Any player’s hope is to be in an environment where they are fully supported not only as a player, but most importantly as a person,” King said.

“For DLH to take this very real situation for the black community, and try to turn it around and make it about himself is completely unacceptable.

“Messages about inclusion and diversity are in complete contradiction with an owner who refuses to understand the relevance of a player strike for racial equality. I’m disappointed, but not surprised, by the lack of understanding in this situation.”