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MLS coach fired over homophobic slur: 'I lost my temper and showed poor judgment'

Mike Petke was fired by Real Salt Lake after he reportedly hurled homophobic slurs at a referee. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Real Salt Lake coach Mike Petke said he “showed poor judgment” during a tirade in which he reportedly used a homophobic slur multiple times while yelling at a referee. Petke — who was fired by Real Salt Lake on Sunday — released a statement Tuesday, saying he lost his temper and had already apologized to the ref.

The 43-year-old Petke began his statement by expressing his confidence in Real Salt Lake. He then addressed his outburst and firing.

Petke was fired weeks after berating a referee following a loss in the Leagues Cup vs. Liga MX power Tigres UANL on July 24. Petke initially received a red card for his actions.

An investigation into the incident reportedly revealed Petke used a homophobic slur while yelling at the ref in question. Following his initial outburst, Petke reportedly went into the tunnel and wrote down the slur on a sign, which he then showed the ref.

In the statement announcing Petke’s firing, Real Salt Lake spoke about the importance of “treating all people with respect, civility and professionalism.”

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.

Petke was suspended for two weeks without pay and fired by the team. In his statement, Petke said he hoped to keep coaching Real Salt Lake following the outburst, and said he and team ownership “will discuss the club’s decision in a forum in the future.”


Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

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