SALT LAKE CITY -- Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen is taking a leave of absence following backlash over remarks he made about the postponement of Wednesday’s match between RSL and LAFC.
The match was postponed because of player's protests following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin. Other sports organizations including Major League Baseball and the NBA also canceled games following player protests.
Hansen reportedly said publicly he was angry at players for protesting and striking in conjunction with teams across the nation.
RSL Soapbox initially published Hansen's comments. In one comment, Hansen reportedly said, "The disrespect was profound to me, personally," and also stated," It's taken a lot of wind out of my sails on how much I want to invest in the team -- buying players and building the team."
Hansen's comments brought backlash from the public and players across the country and weren't limited to soccer. Jazz star Donovan Mitchell took to Twitter to condemn Hansen's statements:
In a statement Friday, RSL said Hansen would be taking the leave of absence while the leagues conduct investigations into his comments and behavior:
As MLS and NWSL commence their investigations, Utah Soccer will ensure full cooperation, including seeking to answer any questions the leagues may have about the statements made by Mr. Hansen regarding athlete boycotts and allegations in a resulting article. As an organization, our priority is our employees, our teams, our players, and our fans, and Mr. Hansen in particular cares deeply for each of these individuals who works so hard to make Utah Soccer the success that it is.
During the pendency of these investigations, and until further notice, Mr. Hansen will be taking a leave of absence from all RSL, URFC, and Monarchs operations. The existing Soccer Executive Group at Utah Soccer will assume all management of the organization.