SALT LAKE CITY — Mike Petke is suing Real Salt Lake for the remainder of his contract salary after the team fired him last month.
Petke was removed from his position as head coach Aug. 11 after a 3-game suspension for a post-game incident where he allegedly shouted racist and homophobic insults at a referee crew.
But Petke and his lawyers now claim he is owed $700,000 because he was only about halfway through his 3-year contract with the team when he was dismissed. The lawsuit claims that the team owes him his salary for the remainder of 2019 and all of 2020.
In addition, Petke’s attorney Clayton Bailey says that when Petke was fined and suspended for his actions, the team gave him a contract amendment that stated future infractions could result in termination. He was fired the day before he was scheduled to return from suspension and resume coaching.
“The amendment was clear about what club leaders expected of Mike. He was following that amendment to the letter and looking forward to returning to his team when he was blindsided by ownership,” Bailey said in a news release. “The decision was announced in a way calculated to damage his reputation, not just as a coach, but also personally. Refusing to pay the remainder of his salary is a move designed to inflict additional, unwarranted economic damage.”
The team released the following statement in response and said it will have no further comment:
“Real Salt Lake (“RSL”) 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.”