Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen is facing new allegations of racist behavior, and is being compared to former racist Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
In a detailed report from The Athletic, Hansen allegedly asked about lynching an opposing black player, said the N-word multiple times in front of people in the organization and even once thought one of the black players on his team was a “thug.”
In 2016, Hansen and other front-office members were allegedly in Dallas after RSL lost a match 2-0 to FC Dallas where they came across Kellyn Acosta, a Black FC Dallas player, who scored a goal in the previous night’s match. After pleasantries were exchanged, Hansen allegedly asked his general manager at the time, “When are we gonna lynch this guy?” directly in front of Acosta.
Hansen allegedly dropped the N-word twice in a conversation two years earlier, when speaking with RSL’s equipment manager, who is of Middle Eastern descent.
Aaron Maund, a black man, and former RSL defender described a disturbing incident during his time with the team. Maund said that he was injured one game and was watching the team play from one of the suites in the stadium. After the game as he entered a public elevator with his family, he decided to put his hood to try to stay lowkey. However, when Hansen entered the elevator Maund removed his hood and said hello, Hansen allegedly responded with, “Oh, my God, I thought you were a thug.”
A former player and employee of the team, Andy Williams, compared Hansen to ousted former Clippers owner Sterling. From the Athletic:
“That’s just how he is,” said Williams, who is Black. “He’s a fucking racist, to be honest. I’ve been in situations where it’s like (former LA Clippers owner) Donald Sterling. He says something, and it’s like, ‘Oh my God, what did he just say?’ It’s Donald Sterling part two. It’s just unbelievable. It’s crazy how he doesn’t see that the stuff that he says affects people.”
This report of Hansen’s alleged blatant racism comes after a tumultuous couple of days for the real estate giant who also owns the USL’s Real Monarchs and the NWSL’s Utah Royals.
RSL players were reportedly barred from their practice facilities on Thursday, an apparent retaliation for the team refusing to play a game against Los Angeles FC the night before — a decision the players made in the wake of the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, by police in Kenosha, Wis.
Players were able to come to the facility Thursday for COVID-19 testing but were prohibited from practicing.
Hansen has been under fire for his comments regarding the protest.
Hansen said the stance the players took to bring awareness to police brutality and racism had “taken a lot of wind” out of his sails when it comes to investing in the team.
In addition to his comments about investing, Hansen inexplicably compared watching the protest to being stabbed.
Hansen said he was “trying to figure out a way to pull the knife out and move forward,” and said he would “start cutting 40 to 50 jobs again.”
“The disrespect was profound to me personally,” Hansen said. “Obviously the importance of bringing the community together during COVID was not respected.”
The comments were made on a local radio station that Hansen owns.
The comments received plenty of backlash from the sports world. Many have even called for Hansen to sell the team.
The MLS and NWSL said that they will be opening an investigation into Hansen’s alleged use of this racist language. The MLS does have a clause in its constitution that allows the league to remove an owner, yet it must pay that owner “fair market value” for the ownership rights.
MLS Commissioner Don Garner released a statement Thursday condemning Hansen’s comments, saying they “did not reflect the views of the MLS.”
NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird also released a statement saying that Hansen’s comments “are in conflict with the values of the NWSL.”
The MLS decided to follow the lead of the NBA on Wednesday and not play in response to the horrific display of police brutality in Kenosha on Sunday in the shooting of Blake. The cooperation from the MLS helped deepen the strength of a moment that will go down in history.
Anyone who can make those types of comments and is turned off by the protests from these brave players is part of the problem.
And Hansen has clearly identified himself as a problem not only in the world of soccer but in society.
This level of heinous behavior is inexcusable and frankly unacceptable.
This is a time to listen and be accepting of others who are being oppressed in order for change to occur. If a major sports owner like Hansen cannot get that picture, then it’s time for him to exit.