The end of former manager Mike Petke’s tenure with Real Salt Lake was an ugly one.
Things are continuing to trend in that direction after news that Petke filed a lawsuit Tuesday against his former team. He is reportedly seeking nearly $700,000 after he and his attorneys claim RSL breached his contract.
A statement from Petke’s attorney claims the team caused unnecessary damage to the former manager’s reputation after he was fired in August following a two-week suspension and $25,000 fine. RSL released a statement regarding the lawsuit Tuesday afternoon:
“Real Salt Lake is aware of the lawsuit filed by former head coach Mike Petke. As previously reported by RSL, Mr. Petke’s employment was terminated for cause based upon statements and actions that are unbecoming of RSL representatives, especially our head coach. The organization stands firmly behind that difficult decision.”
The club’s statement ended by saying there would be no further comment on the pending litigation.
RSL fired Petke the day before he was supposed to return from a two-week suspension following a Leagues Cup match against Tigres UANL, during which he was issued a red card after the final whistle. He was later accused of berating an official after the game with a rant that reportedly included a homophobic slur in Spanish.
Major League Soccer reprimanded Petke with the suspension, a fine and an order to take anger management, sensitivity and diversity training. RSL owner Dell Loy Hansen also told fans he considered firing Petke. Hansen’s conversation, which was caught on video, was referenced in a statement released Tuesday by Petke’s attorneys that claims Hansen contradicted Petke’s contract.
After his termination, Petke released a statement both accepting the initial punishment for his actions and claiming that his actions were “misinterpreted or twisted.”
Petke was 38-34-15 with RSL. He was hired midway through the 2017 season. He previously coached the New York Red Bulls from 2013-14.
— @petkemike (@petkemike) August 13, 2019