(Reuters) – Major League Soccer (MLS) said on Thursday it will investigate allegations made in a report that Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen used racist language.
“We are deeply concerned about the allegations made in a report published this evening concerning language used by, and the conduct of, Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen,” MLS said in a statement.
“Major League Soccer has zero tolerance for this type of language or conduct and will immediately commence an investigation.”
The Athletic reported Hansen had a history of making racially charged remarks during his time as owner of the club.
Hansen has come under fire after criticising players for refusing to the field in protest against racial injustice following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
“It’s like someone stabbed you and then you’re trying to figure out a way to pull the knife out and move forward,” Hansen said in a radio interview. “The disrespect was 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.”
MLS Commissioner Don Garber issued a statement condemning the Salt Lake owner’s comments.
“I appreciate Dell Loy Hansen’s efforts to build the sport of soccer in Utah … However, I strongly disagree with the comments he made today, the way they were expressed, and they do not reflect the views of MLS,” Garber said.
Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford