Less than two days after announcing Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen was taking a leave of absence, the team is now for sale.
A press release from RSL Communications was sent out Sunday morning. It was a letter from Hansen to the RSL community. In short, the Cache Valley native and his wife Julie are going to work to sell the team and hope it will remain in Utah.
Hansen had come under fire Thursday after going on a Salt Lake City radio show that morning and talking about being upset RSL players had not played a match on Wednesday night at home. The athletes, along with visiting LAFC players, did not take the field to play at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, sitting out to protest racial injustice.
The Wednesday night game was the first to include fans since the season started back in March. On the radio show, Hansen said: “The disrespect was profound to me personally.”
Hansen also commented that he might not invest as much in the team going forward. In addition to RSL, Hansen also owns the Utah Royals of the National Women’s Soccer League and the USL’s Real Monarchs, as well as soccer academies throughout Utah and Arizona.
Later on Thursday Hansen addressed his own comments on another radio station in Salt Lake City, saying he had since looked more closely at the issue and apologized if fans thought his statement meant he did not care about the movement to end social injustice.
Television reporter David James at KUTV in Salt Lake City received texts from Julie Hansen and was given permission to share them on Friday. She said: “Dell Loy does not have a racist bone in his body. No one supports equality more than this man. ... Dell Loy donates millions every year to lift people up.”
She went on to also say her husband has donated money to a small village in Malawi, Africa, and brought in women’s soccer to promote women.
In the wake of his first comments, a report in The Athletic website Thursday night detailed Hansen’s alleged use of racially charged remarks and a racial slur. The MLS and NWSL both launched investigations, and on Friday night RSL announced Hansen was taking a leave of absence. It was announced that the existing Soccer Executive Group at Utah Soccer will assume all management of the organization.
“I want to acknowledge Dell Loy Hansen’s significant efforts to build the sport of soccer in the state of Utah and for his commitment to Major League Soccer,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a statement.
Real Salt Lake played Saturday night in Portland, Oregon, rallying with two late goals for a 4-4 tie. Then Sunday morning the owner sent out his intentions to sell the team.
Here is the statement from Hansen.
“I recognize that at times I have spoken too quickly, without pausing to consider the feelings or good intentions of others. This is not acceptable and I assume full responsibility for allowing my words to travel unfiltered as to their significance and impact.
“I believe that communities are strengthened by diversity. I am truly sorry for offending and being insensitive to the plight of others. I seek to do better and commit to supporting and improving diversity and inclusion in my own community going forward.
“After deep consideration and soul-searching, my wife Julie and I agree that the best way forward for the Real Salt Lake family is to assume new ownership and a refreshed vision. We are fully invested in supporting the transition to new ownership and will work diligently to try to ensure that the Club stays within our community. We will support the organization and its employees in moving quickly so as to minimally disrupt this season and allow new ownership adequate time to plan for the 2021 season.
“Real Salt Lake has our full support. We have been blessed with loving friendships that are expressed daily. These will be sorely missed. We love our community and our family and sincerely hope for the best outcomes for each. Know that our hearts will always bleed Claret and Cobalt.”
Hansen has been behind numerous commercial ventures in the Logan area. His company, Wasatch Property Management, developed the Riverwoods retail and conference complex on South Main Street in Logan. He was involved in the creation of the Sports Academy. In 2017, after purchasing Real Salt Lake, he opened the RSL Youth Academy indoor soccer facility in North Logan.