The club expects Petke to fight for the salary left on this contract, which goes through the 2020 season, per the report. The former coach’s contract also had a morality clause that gave the organization grounds to fire him if he violated it, according to The Athletic. Petke’s salary has not been made public.
It appears that conversations with some of the club’s sponsors played a role in Petke’s firing. According to the report, some of the team’s top sponsors, including Zions Bank and Ford, let it be known they would reconsider their partnerships if Petke kept his job.
An RSL spokesperson declined comment when reached by The Salt Lake Tribune. Petke did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Hansen told KUTV that the decision did not ultimately hinge on those conversations.
“The decision was 100 percent ours,” Hansen said. “I think it’s important if you’re an organization like Real that you listen, that we took the time over the two weeks to listen. Absolutely, though, the decision did not come from one group or the other.”
“I’ve known Mike a really long time and I can tell you that he’s not a homophobe," Beckerman said. “I just think it was an incident that got away from him.”
Beltran, in an email to The Tribune, said Petke is “not a homophobe,” and “to call him so would be a dishonor to a man that I have known only to be inclusive and sensitive towards others.” Beltran added that the language Petke used toward the referees was “not in a desire to perpetuate hate towards any community,” and used “only due to lexical naivety.”
“The situation after the Tigres game is regrettable, and a clear moment where Mike’s passion to defend his players got the better of him,” Beltran said. “I wish Mike Petke and his family nothing but the best moving forward.”
Rimando shared this thoughts on the situation in a tweet that read, in part: “I know Mike, the whole person. I know Mike, the whole man. I hope you can all trust me when I say that this instance should not define him. It’s a very unfortunate turn of events.”
Meanwhile, Juarez conducted his first training with RSL on Monday morning as interim coach. He said the mood around the team was positive despite the controversy.
“The spirits seemed good,” Juarez said. “We had a good chat. The guys are good guys. It’s a good group. So it’s really just continue to guide them, making sure we don’t stop our standards at any point.”
Hansen described Juarez as a “very soft-spoken, deliberate and strategic coach” and a “known commodity.” He added that be believes Juarez has the temperament he expects from a head coach.
“He’s the right man at the right time,” Hansen said of Juarez.
Juarez has coached at every level in the RSL organization. He started with the academy team before moving over to coach the Real Monarchs, and was an assistant coach on Petke’s staff. He is intimately familiar with several of the current RSL homegrown players, including Aaron Herrera, Sebastian Saucedo, Justen Glad and Brooks Lennon.
Juarez said he will approach the remainder of the season and the opportunity as interim head coach by just continuing to be himself.
“I have a style of play, I’ve coached in enough games,” Juarez said. "We have a good staff. We’ve always done our part as a staff. And now it’s just me being the guy that says the last word maybe, or the first word. It’s just continue to be me.”
The team’s next game is Wednesday against the Seattle Sounders at Rio Tinto Stadium.