Controversial owner to sell stake in USL’s Charlotte Independence

The United Soccer League announced on Monday that several ownership stakes in USL Championship side Charlotte Independence — including that of majority owner Dan DiMicco — are in the process of being sold.

“The day-to-day management of the club — of which Mr. DiMicco and others are not directly involved — will continue to be overseen by President and Managing Partner Jim McPhilliamy,” the USL said in a statement. “As such, the Club remains fully committed to all players, staff and community members as we move forward with the 2021 season and beyond.”

DiMicco, the former CEO of Nucor Steel, first invested in the team in January of 2018. But he had been at odds with some of the club’s fans and players ever since May of last year when he posted a series of incendiary tweets — which have since been deleted — in which he engaged in conspiracy theories and blamed the protests over the killing of George Floyd on Antifa, billionaire philanthropist George Soros and China.

That drew the ire of one of the team’s supporters groups, Jack’s Militia, with some leaders reportedly boycotting matches. In a statement to the Charlotte Post, the group said, “Jack’s Militia stands fully behind the peaceful protests against the abhorrent continuation of centuries of lethal brutality by those entrusted to protect and serve all Americans. We do not share the values that Dan DiMicco, majority owner of the team we love, chooses to express via social media. More violence and brutality is not the answer. Wild conspiracy theories and demonization of the free press as a distraction from the real problems facing the nation is not the answer. Black lives matter. Enough is enough.”

DiMicco later responded with a statement via the team’s Twitter account, that said in part, “I condemn racism and discrimination in all their forms. I’ve always believed Black Lives Matter and that our country has a lot of work to do to rid itself of all racism that has plagued us for too long.” He later added, “I’ve spent the majority of my career in manufacturing and dealing with global trade issues. It is unfortunate that some of my recent political positions on that matter have been perceived as discriminatory.”

DiMicco’s social media activity led to calls for him to sell his stake in the team, and those voices have recently grown louder, especially in the wake of the Atlanta spa shootings that killed eight people, six of them Asian women. The Independent Supporters Council, which advocates for supporters groups across the country, issued a statement on March 19, part of which read, “The Independent Supporters Council condemns the hate speech, blatant racism, and conspiracy theories from Charlotte Independence owner Dan DiMicco. The ISC calls for action to be taken by the United Soccer League (USL) Championship.”

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