New allegation of racist language by RSL owner Dell Loy Hansen surfaces

FILE - Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen presents his vision for a new minor league soccer stadium on Sept. 10, 2014, in Salt Lake City. Hansen has come under criticism for comments he made on a radio show after RSL players decided not to take the field for a match to protest racial injustice. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen repeatedly referred to a Black woman as “colored” and mimicked her during a corporate event about two years ago, a former employee who witnessed the incident told The Salt Lake Tribune.

Tim Conyers used to work at MarketStar, a company that provides extra sales employees bought by the Hansen-owned Wasatch Group about two years ago. He recalled an event held in front of hundreds of people in the Peery’s Egyptian Theater in Ogden celebrating Wasatch Group’s acquisition of MarketStar.

Hansen gave a speech. In the middle of it, Conyers recalled, he began talking about incentives the company offers. One of the anecdotes left the crowd uncomfortable, Conyers said.

“I had this colored woman that works for me who came up to me and gave me a big hug and she was so excited that I was able to help her out with this $2,000 loan,” Conyers recalled Hansen saying.

Conyers then described the rest of Hansen’s anecdote, in which the RSL owner gave an “interpretation” of the woman responding to him. Conyers said he grew up in eastern Kentucky and likened Hansen’s interpretation of the woman to what he saw growing up there.

“I know a lot of people I grew up with who would mock and make fun of southern-talking Black individuals,” Conyers said. “That’s what he did.”

A source in the RSL organization confirmed Conyers’s account to The Tribune.

Conyers said at that moment, he turned to his boss and said, “Did he really just say that?” His boss responded: “He’s from Logan and he’s old school.”

The new allegation comes a day after the owner took a leave of absence from his three soccer clubs while an investigation by Major League Soccer and the National Women’s Soccer League looks into accusations of racist behavior.

The investigation was sparked by an article in The Athletic that details other times where Hansen is accused of saying racist things. When the article came out, several players across sports leagues called for Hansen to sell the team, including Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell and U.S. Women’s National Team star Megan Rapinoe.

A few potential buyers have expressed interest in RSL, including the same ownership group that heads the Jazz.

Hansen started to receive blowback Thursday for expressing personal disappointment after RSL and LAFC refused to play their game Wednesday in response to a sports-wide protest of the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man shot seven times in the back in Kenosha, Wisconsin.