MLS Commissioner Don Garber has released a statement strongly opposing the comments made by Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen on Thursday morning. Hansen criticized the refusal of many MLS players, including those from RSL and LAFC, to play their scheduled Wednesday matches in protest of the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and as part of the ongoing movement to end police brutality and systemic racism in the United States.
In an interview with KXRK 96.3FM’s “Radio From Hell” show on Thursday morning, Hansen described the protest as “like somebody stabbed you and you’re trying to figure out a way to pull the knife out and move forward,” adding that “the disrespect is profound to me personally.” He also accused the players of damaging the club’s efforts to bring people together during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Thursday afternoon, Commissioner Garber released the following statement in response:
I appreciate Dell Loy Hansen’s efforts to build the sport of soccer in Utah. His commitment to MLS, the NWSL and the USL, as well as the game at the youth level, has been significant. However, I strongly disagree with the comments he made today, the way they were expressed, and they do not reflect the views of MLS.
This is a time for all of us to work together in the pursuit of racial equality and social justice. Major League Soccer and all of its clubs will continue to support and create initiatives that enact real change.