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The past few weeks, our local headlines have buzzed over the Real Salt Lake soccer franchise and owners Dell Loy and Julie Hansen.

Many of us from Cache Valley are familiar with the Hansens and recognize their mark on our community. The Hansens have contributed millions of dollars to help build local businesses, charities, and even public buildings. Personally, their generosity has effected me in three ways.

First, the North Logan City Library was paid for, in part, by a generous grant from the Thorne Endowment that Dell Loy Hansen started years ago. That endowment has contributed between tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to the city library. I know because I serve on the Friends of North Logan Library board and I have seen the bookkeeping. The Friends board has the great privilege of deciding how portions of that endowment money will be spent. The money has paid for bookshelves, computers, summer reading programs, and countless books for the community.

But no one is talking about that right now.

Dell Loy Hansen also spearheaded the construction of the Real Salt Lake building near Green Canyon High School. The building is used for training but has also been shared by the community. I know because I attend an exercise class there made possible by a partnership between RSL management and North Logan city recreation.

The RSL building has filled a hole in North Logan where few large facilities can accommodate sport. Thanks to the Hansens’ generosity, that building has hosted local field days, youth soccer and baseball tryouts, and even PE classes for nearby schools.

But no one is talking about that right now.

I’ve never met Dell Loy Hansen personally, but the last time I saw him was at a City Council meeting. Hansen was advocating for the expansion of the North Logan City Library and discussing the possibility of an attached community center and children’s museum.

As far as I know, those plans have not come to fruition, and pieces of it may not ever happen. But I know the Hansens have been trying to move plans forward for at least the five years since I returned to Cache Valley.

But no one is talking about that right now.

The phrase “When I do something good, no one remembers; when I do bad, no one forgets” comes to mind.

Dell Loy Hansen has come under fire because he talked off-the-cuff on a radio program. After months of sports being canceled due to COVID-19, Real Salt Lake finally had an opportunity to play in front of a crowd. But the Real didn’t play.

The team opted not to play in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. I respect that movement. Systemic racial inequality has been rooted in our country since its founding. People who have public platforms like sport to bring attention to injustice certainly can feel justified in using that approach.

But candidly, I was a little sad about another canceled game. Please don’t overreact. I recognize that overcoming racial inequality is something vastly more important than my selfish desire to watch a soccer game. The two do not even compare. My disappointment is petty and entirely self-serving. The question of upholding human rights is a serious one and my higher self takes it seriously. Racial inequality and social injustice are real, and as a society, we must do all we can to stop them.

Yet I can see how an owner who had invested millions of dollars and many years in building a soccer program would feel a bit sad inside about the canceled game, too. I can see why he said what he did. He said it in a platform he thought might be a safe one to express his private sentiments of the moment.

I also see why people were offended by those comments. That’s what everyone is talking about.

But they are not talking very much about what has come after.

Hansen is owning up to his mistake. That’s something I applaud. I further applaud his publicly issued apology, which was eloquent and sincere.

Hansen strikes me as a passionate person who speaks his mind. I have been accused of being such a person, too. The fact that we both are in the public eye gives me compassion for his situation. He is human.

He spoke out in a moment of frustration and without thinking. He asked for forgiveness. And he is selling his soccer franchise to make amends. In my mind, that’s above and beyond what most people would do.

Hansen has been criticized for this misstep in a time when tensions are high. He was crucified by the court of public opinion long before a fair judgment could be reached.

Yet the Hansens have reacted by taking the highest road possible. They have shown humility and dignity in their responsiveness to the complaints. And they are continuing to move forward to keep the soccer franchise and the community going in the right direction.

That’s what I am talking about.

Personally, I want to express gratitude to the Hansens for their commitment to building up sport, economy, business and community. Right now, not many people remember and may not even be aware of the good that Hansens have done. But there are those of us who won’t forget it, no matter what everyone else is saying.

Kate E Anderson is a mother of five living in North Logan. She can be reached at katecole9@yahoo.com.

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