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Spectator asked to leave RSL game for white supremacist tattoo regrets his past

Posted at 6:10 PM, Jul 04, 2024

SALT LAKE CITY — At Wednesday's RSL match, Jonathan Pangburn was asked by security to leave the stadium because of his tattoo associated with the Nazi movement and white supremacy, an identity he is ashamed of.

After crime in his past and a few stints in prison, Jonathan Pangburn moved to Utah over three years ago to be a part of the Other Side Academy. He recently graduated from there and has been part of volunteer outreach efforts in the community.

Pangburn said that part of that past were identities that he isn’t proud of anymore.

"My tattoos they affect me and they offend me more than they offend anybody else,” said Pangburn. “I’m filled with regret and shame everytime I go into public, and insecurity."

A photographer at the match spotted the tattoo and tweeted it out.

"My intention is to not try to disperse any negativity or hatred to people, and really, I’m just trying to get out there, just be part of the community and spread my message of change. I know I dropped the ball, I could have covered up my tattoos and wore a hat,” said Pangburn.

RSL told FOX13 that the club and America First Field have a zero tolerance policy regarding hate speech. So when they found out about someone with a hate symbol tattoo, they removed him within 10 minutes.

“Hate has no place in our sports stadiums and in our celebration of our athletes and teams,” said Marc Levine with the Anti-Defamation League. He said that this kind of speech - no matter how it was intended - has the power to hurt. “This is a very haunting and scary thing for people here in the united states today,” said Levine. “That hate has very long shadow and we also know that hateful rhetoric often leads to hateful acts so this can be a very scary thing for someone to see."

Pangburn is in recovery and also is in the process of removing his tattoos – not just this one, but other hate symbols too.

"I don’t come from a place of hate,” he said.

He hopes his story inspires others to change too.