August 14 – The head coach of an MLS team has been sacked for using profane homophobic language.
Real Salt Lake’s Mike Petke was about to return to work following a two-week unpaid suspension by the club as part of a series of sanctions, which included a $25,000 fine.
Instead, Petke, who previously coached the New York Red Bulls, was fired following what the club called “further deliberations and a series of constructive discussions internally and with various members of our community.”
Petke had received a red card from the referee after berating him as part of an on-field outburst following RSL’s Leagues Cup loss to Mexican side Tigres UANL.
As part of his tirade, he reportedly hurled a homophobic slur in Spanish directed at the officials and, according to the Salt Lake Tribune, confronted the officials with a handwritten sign that displayed the same language.
“At Real Salt Lake, we have the privilege to represent our great community and fans here locally and on a national and global basis,” the club said in a statement.
“We hold all of our coaches, players, executives and staff to the highest standards of professionalism. As an organization, it is vital that everyone, particularly our leadership, reflects and embodies our core values and the values of our community, treating all people with respect, civility and professionalism.
“Moreover, throughout our 15-year history, we have championed diversity, acceptance and inclusion throughout our organization, our stadiums and our community. This is a responsibility that we take very seriously.”
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