September 28, 2021

‘The disrespect is profound’ – Real Salt Lake owner Hansen slams team for skipping match in racial justice protest

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RSL’s game against LAFC was one of five MLS games that were cancelled on Wednesday amid outrage over a police shooting in Wisconsin

Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen has fired a broadside at his own team and other MLS sides who refused to play matches on Wednesday night in protest of a police shooting. 

Police in Wisconsin shot Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, in front of his children on Sunday, severely injuring him and potentially paralyzing him permanently.

As outrage over the shooting grew, professional sports leagues in the U.S. went on strike on Wednesday, with the NBA and WNBA cancelling all games and Major League Baseball cancelling several of theirs.

MLS cancelled five of its six scheduled games, including Real Salt Lake’s match against Los Angeles FC

Hansen, who also owns NWSL side Utah Royals FC, called the move disrespectful and even threatened to cut back on his investment in the team.

“It’s a moment of sadness,” Hansen said on radio station X96. “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.

“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.”

RSL was one of a handful of MLS sides to begin hosting matches with limited fans in attendance as the league returns to home markets amid the coronavirus pandemic.

After the events of Wednesday, Hansen has threatened to begin cutting jobs due to the lost revenue from games being cancelled.

“We will not be inviting fans back to the stadium in the future,” Hansen said. “Monday, I start having to cut 40, 50 jobs again. We would not go through the risk of inviting people back to have that kind of an outcome.”

Club legend Nick Rimando, who retired at the end of the 2019 season, immediately condemned Hansen’s comments in a post on Twitter.

“Real Salt Lake locker room, fans, and front office that stand for equality, human rights, and the fight against racism I applaud you,” Rimando said.

“I am disgusted by DLH comments. This is more than a game.”