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RSL owner Dell Loy Hansen accused of racist statements, NWSL on TV, Weston McKennie, and more: Freedom Kicks for 8/28/2020


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Los Angeles FC v Real Salt Lake Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images

Hi everyone, it’s Jason. After yesterday’s news in our part of the world mostly centered around a racist team owner — taking attention away from the very issues that American athletes of so many stripes tried to highlight Wednesday — it’s not really the time for small jokes and goofy posts.

Let’s start off with D.C. United’s statement on MLS players, being lead by the Black Players for Change, demanding an end to police brutality:

Full credit to the team for being specific about what is wrong. This isn’t a statement that has plausible deniability or boilerplate phrases. It’s a demand that police brutality against Black Americans stop, and an illustration that the earlier pledge to do more as a team on that front isn’t just talk.

On this subject, United goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr. joined several other players in discussing the strike on Wednesday:

Take time to listen in and hear their perspectives. For Edwards, who is in a leadership role with the Black Players for Change, a lot of his work Wednesday was logistical.

United got some fairly bad-sounding news on Edison Flores, who needs further examination from doctors after that clash of heads on Tuesday:

We don’t actually know that United has a game Saturday (the wind is blowing that way, but sports are both fluid and of secondary importance at the moment), but if they do, they’re gonna have to do without Flores.

NWSL didn’t see every team release a statement on everything that’s going on, but the Washington Spirit did:

“This remains a time for action.” Indeed.

Staying with the Spirit, all signs point to them opening the NWSL’s fall series in just over a week at Segra Field:

If it’s safe, we’ll have first-hand coverage.

How college football’s postponements opened a window for the NWSL on CBS | The Athletic
Here are the details of how the NWSL landed mid-day time slots on Big CBS during what is normally college football season. There’s also a ton in here about the Spirit being able to turn that platform (weekend afternoon broadcast TV is enormous for NWSL) into tangible financial benefits on the sponsorship side.

And now, we get into Dell Loy Hansen, who showed his true colors all day yesterday:

Catch up on whirlwind news day as Dell Loy Hansen blasts players, accused of racist abuse | RSL Soapbox
RSL Soapbox did so many articles yesterday that linking them all would be spamming, but I really hope you read this summary, which is full of links to their stories.

On a personal note, those of you who have been reading B&RU for a long time know we’ve gone through some dark times: awful seasons, an existential threat on the stadium front, and so on. Doing an SB Nation site is supposed to be about how you love your team, and having the responsibility to write articles when your team is going through a really bad time is a really trying thing to do. I’m blown away by how much (and how well) RSL Soapbox covered the kind of story that is very much grounds to throw up your hands and say “I’m done supporting this team.”

Full transcript of Dell Loy Hansen’s comments on Radio from Hell | RSL Soapbox
Nedum Onuoha speaks to RSL Soapbox about Dell Loy Hansen, allegations of racist abuse | RSL Soapbox
Here are two of the key pieces they posted yesterday, just to make sure they get seen.

Dell Loy Hansen has history of racist comments as RSL owner | The Athletic
Hansen’s comments on two radio shows (both on stations he owns) were really bad, but the stuff in here — racial slurs, lynching jokes, and so on — requires action from the league. Given that MLS offered a mere admonishment just minutes before this report, I’m not entirely convinced the league will go far enough.

Nick Rimando, an indisputable Real Salt Lake legend, pulled no punches in talking about Hansen’s words:

On the Utah Royals FC side of the equation, rookie forward Tziarra King emphatically stated her solidarity with RSL’s players as well:

The MLS Players Association was clear in its demand: investigate the allegations, and if they’re accurate, get Hansen out of the league:

Chris Wondolowski critical of Real Salt Lake owner’s comments: “It enrages me” | Center Line Soccer
Wondo used his status as the all-time MLS leading goalscorer and a team captain to demand change, and to say plainly how Hansen’s comments left him feeling.

Julian Gressel joined the calls for Hansen’s departure from MLS:

Jozy Altidore went one step further, saying that he’s actually part of a group looking to buy the team to get Hansen out of MLS:

Utah Royals owner Dell Loy Hansen must go | All For XI
That’s right.

Credit to Royals FC supporters group The Court, who are taking action by dismantling as a supporters group rather than continue to support a Hansen-owned club:

MLS has a decision to make on Dell Loy Hansen | Sounder at Heart
If you want to know how MLS could go about removing Hansen, here’s a breakdown.

NWSL lags far behind WNBA in social justice efforts | All For XI
Steph Yang wrote this excellent look at the jarring contrast between the thoughtful ways the WNBA has handled keeping attention on ending police violence against Black Americans and racial inequality, and the more ad hoc actions in the NWSL. It got lost in the Hansen news, but I hope you make time for it.

Report: Weston McKennie could have his Juventus medical as soon as Friday | Black & White & Read All Over
In another huge story from yesterday, USMNT midfielder Weston McKennie is on the verge of a move to Juventus, which feels like kind of a big deal.

And with that, this over-long round of Freedom Kicks is done. Be good to one another.