Real Salt Lake owner Dale Loy Henson took X96 on Thursday morning to express his disappointment at the Real Salt Lake player’s decision not to play against LAFC on Wednesday in protest against racism and police brutality in this country. Before the end of the weekend, Hansen agreed to sell the team and took a leave of absence.
This was due in no small part to a backlash from fans after several staff members began to share their experience with the organization, including reports of racist language used by Henson. Most notably Andy Williams was speaking to Athletic, but many others also shared their stories.
Since then, other issues have surfaced – including allegations of sexism – in interviews with current and former employees of the Real Salt Lake organization. We have learned that the tone of culture set by some members of leadership is toxic.
According to interviews with employees and former employees of the organization, sexism and courtly behavior were common when interacting with certain members of leadership in the organization.
In an interview, former sideline reporter Rebecca Cade told the RSL soapbox about a meeting where her physical appearance was openly discussed by male colleagues, including current Real Salt Lake chief business officer Andy Carroll.
“I was told, by a coworker, that there was a management meeting on a Friday after work that consisted only of management people – like marketing people and PR people, all the people I work with,” Cade said . “(Andy Carroll) passed around Scotch, talking very improperly and discussing my body with other men. I didn’t really ask for specifics, but I know they were talking about my boobs. “
This story was known by someone in the meeting who wished to remain anonymous.
When Cad was fired from the organization in 2018, he complained to HR about this story and other behavior, but never heard back. Along with another female employee, they were told how to dress, although neither was ever given a formal dress code.
When asked to describe the culture in Real Salt Lake, Cade simply responded with one word: “Toxic.”
While planning for Utah Royals Media Day in 2019, Carroll requested that the players be introduced with the specific purpose of looking “sexy” according to former team photographer Roscoe Myrick.
The staff refused to take photographs of women players in this manner. The story was verified by another staff member who asked to remain anonymous.
In interviews with RSL Soapbox for this article, we heard that Carroll preferred that only Kristen Press, Amy Rodriguez, and Kelly O’Hara be used on hoardings and commercials, as they reportedly felt they were the team’s most Was a beautiful player. He clearly did not want Gani Jonsdottir or Becky Soberbrun to be used, as they were “too ugly”.
When goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart set the record for the most shutouts in an NWSL season, members of the media department were discouraged from promoting that feat more widely, allegedly because Carroll didn’t think he was attractive enough was.
In response to the allegations, an organization statement said that Utah Soccer “does not tolerate biased or discriminatory … language or conduct against women.”
“Utah Soccer prioritizes gender equality and has worked diligently to support and empower women in the region. It is exemplified in its various women’s initiatives and in devotion it has shown the sport of women’s football more widely. Utah does not tolerate football and has never tolerated language or conduct that is prejudicial or discriminatory against women, and has made it one of its missions to provide a safe and welcoming environment for all its employees and players. The central part is formed. Likewise, any type of betrayal or threatening behavior is completely counter to the culture of Utah Soccer and such conduct is never permitted.
Sexism is not the only issue that employees allegedly faced during their employment, as the consequences of the toxic culture set by Hansen and Carroll often made their work difficult.
Employees were often expected to work long hours. One person told the RSL Soapbox that they pull more and more all night working for RSL than they ever did in college and say they did not get compensation for the extra hours. Utah overtime law requires employers to periodically pay an employee’s base rate, regardless of whether they are an hour or a salaried employee, whether they work more than 40 hours a week.
We interviewed a Real Salt Lake player who asked not to be named, stating that many employees in the front office are expected to work overtime and their knowledge, without additional compensation.
Carroll was often harsh with his subordinates, a source told us.
“I remember that at the company-wide meetings he (Carroll) would call them (sales staff) out,” a former staff member told us. “He will exceed the sales numbers for that month and then comment, ‘If (insert sales person) does not help us get these numbers, he will be in the line of unemployment next month.”
The source also said that Carroll would yell at staff often and brittle. This was confirmed by another source who observed this behavior.
There was an understanding among employees that they were not valued by Hansen. The salary reported for the RSL soapbox is what the market rate would be for similar roles in the Salt Lake City area, and the turnover appears to be higher.
Currently a bad employee felt they were not valued at the club.
“I can really make myself work for this team and it doesn’t matter to Dale Loy Henson,” the employee said. “I could see myself working for the team and Dale Loy wiped my blood with his hands and said, ‘Okay, on to the next guy.’ It’s sad that people in that club feel that way, because I know I’m not the only person who feels that way. It’s almost like you don’t do anything, because people don’t like you. Don’t value. Your partners may value you, but those who make decisions and talk within the club don’t value you. “
The absconding employee said that Hansen told him that he could get a high school student to do his work for free, so he should feel obliged to do the job.
Another former employee, who has since been working for another sports team outside of Utah, described the difference in culture as “night and day”.
“People from top to bottom are ready to cooperate and the feedback from the employees is heard and the changes are due to what I did not feel in RSL,” he said. “We cannot express a concern and that concern can be validated.”
The staff really believes in each other and the team, but according to some interviews, the series found more problems.
“Some of the people I work with, some of the most amazing people I have met,” one employee said. “It is a pleasure working in my department. This is really great – good people who really care about football and just want a chance to work in professional sports. However, as you make your way up the organizational ladder, it seems that everyone has received a lot of appreciation. “
There was also the issue of Hansen’s understanding of the game in general. Hansen, who built his wealth through real estate, was new to Sports Management when he joined Real Salt Lake in 2009 as a minority owner. As of this week, Hansen served as club president of Bill Effing, now president at Toronto FC, the club in August 2015.
One staff member said that things became more difficult at the club due to Hansen’s lack of clear understanding.
“Del Loy always thinks the only thing he asked for is what’s going on,” he said. “This is the biggest problem. He is a boss who does not understand football and he does not understand the demands of football. … He does not understand the rules that are being made. He does not understand the need for more players, more honestly. “
Another former front office staff member said Hansen and Carroll often sought control of the club’s areas over their assigned roles or areas of expertise.
The former employee said, “Dale Loy intervenes in areas where he is not an expert, but he also controls everything.” “He is a controller. They have found people ranging from the head manager of the head office to the head coaches who are happy to do the job.
“They are probably under 25% of the salary in the field because Dale Loy does not want to lose control. He has people from place to place, his ministers, who do the same thing and rule with fear. He is already debilitating people, then wants to work more (on top of his normal job duties) and is just toxic. “
One employee said, “I can’t tell the culture in RSL is spoiling, but it is rotten from top to bottom.”