MLS Coach Fired For Using Homophobic Slur During Tirade at Ref

Real Salt Lake head coach Mike Petke has been fired by the club

Real Salt Lake head coach Mike Petke
Fired Real Salt Lake head coach Mike Petke in 2017. (Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty)
By Evan Bleier / August 13, 2019 10:32 am

Following a two-week suspension resulting from a July 24 postgame tirade directed at officials, Real Salt Lake head coach Mike Petke has been fired by the club.

Petke reportedly used a Spanish homophobic slur repeatedly while ranting at referees at the end of his team’s 1–0 loss to Tigres UANL in the Leagues Cup. The rant was apparently not enough to satisfy Petke as he also went after the officials with a handwritten sign displaying the slur, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

“Petke repeatedly hurled a homophobic slur to the referees both on the field and in the tunnel of Rio Tinto Stadium shortly afterward,” according to the paper. “He also confronted the referees in the tunnel with a handwritten sign that displayed the slur.”

Though the team originally only suspended Petke, who had been suspended on two other occasions for incidents involving officials, the team decided to terminate his contract “after further deliberations and a series of constructive discussions internally and with various members of our community.”

“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 team 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.”

Real Salt Lake assistant coach Freddy Juarez was named interim head coach for the remainder of the 2019 season.

RSL is sixth in the table in Western Conference in MLS with a record of 11-9-4 and the team has won two games in a row under Juarez.

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