MLS owner compares his players protesting to being stabbed, threatens to reduce funding

Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen attacked his team on local radio station KXRK for not suiting up against LAFC on Wednesday in protest of racism and police brutality in the US.

Hansen said he felt as if he had been impaled by a blade and was “trying to figure out a way to pull the knife out and move forward.” He threatened to reduce his investment in the club and said he would “start cutting 40 to 50 jobs again.”

“The disrespect was profound to me personally,” Hansen said. “Obviously the importance of bringing community together during COVID was not respected.”

In response to Hansen’s radio appearance, Real Salt Lake defender Nedum Onuoha said he wanted to leave the organization. Onuoha is Black and was one of the players who led the decision to not play against LAFC.

“We are trying to create a bigger conversation but a lot of the people who are in power don’t empathize or sympathize or do anything,” Onuoha told BBC. “They are more concerned with themselves.”

There were five MLS games postponed Wednesday. The league joined teams in the NBA and MLB in sitting out to make their message on racial justice clear.

Over the weekend, Black American Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back by a Kenosha, Wis. police officer. The incident has added to nationwide outrage over the treatment of Black people by law enforcement, as well as broader racial inequalities in the country.

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