If MLS and NWSL have a lot of things to catch up on to be considered a “major league,” one thing we can cross off the list is the speed at which they eject a shithead racist owner from their ranks.
Dell Loy Hansen, proving once again that just about any white dude with three names spells trouble, has announced that he will sell his holding company, Utah Soccer Holdings, that oversees Real Salt Lake of MLS, Utah Royals of the NWSL, and Real Monarchs of the USL immediately.
This came one day after the Black players of the NWSL released a joint statement denouncing Hansen’s comments earlier in the week and extend their fight against racial injustice everywhere. The leagues had already suspended Hansen after he was on Utah radio talking about how insulted he was by players on Real Salt Lake kneeling during the anthem and how he might use it as an excuse to lay off or furlough more employees and threaten to not invest in the team further.
MLS commissioner Don Garber passed on the chance to firmly kick Hansen out the door, saying, “I want to acknowledge Dell Loy Hansen’s significant efforts to build the sport of soccer in the state of Utah and for his commitment to Major League Soccer.” Now is not really the time to try and paint Hansen as some misunderstood hero of the sport, rather than an opportunity to show how the league will stand apart from clear bigots and racists.
Hansen’s radio comments only opened up his history of being a racist jackass, as The Athletic unearthed comments he’d made about Kellyn Acosta as far back as 2016, as well as comments two years earlier where he had used the N-word with a team employee. Andy Williams, who had worked as the team’s lead scout, called Hansen “a fucking racist.”
It shows just how far the calls in other leagues for players to push owners to support racial justice and affiliated causes have to go, when a lot of leagues have to root out racists from the owners’ box first. We can also guess where their money has gone. Still, a journey of a thousand miles and all that.