A Breakdown of the Mason Greenwood Allegations
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Manchester United forward Mason Greenwood was arrested on the night of Sunday, January 30 by the Greater Manchester Police on allegations of physical assault and rape. Earlier that day, Greenwood’s alleged girlfriend, Harriet Robson, accused the United player of domestic abuse and physical violence, posting disturbing videos and images on social media as proof. She deleted them hours later, but the evidence had already spread like wildfire. One audio clip in particular, in which Greenwood could be heard forcing an unconsenting woman to engage in sexual acts with him, went viral. Manchester United was quickly made aware of the situation, and later that day, the team issued a statement that Greenwood would not return to club training or matches awaiting further notice. He was arrested on February 1 for making murder threats, but was released a day later on bail pending further investigation. This unfortunate predicament has brought about tensions in the Manchester United dressing room, caused devastation among the victim’s family, and called into question Greenwood’s future as a professional soccer player.
Greenwood joined the Manchester United youth team at the age of six. He progressed through the academy ranks, eventually breaking into United’s first team during the 2019-2020 season. Ole Gunnar Solskjær, the manager at the time, was impressed with Greenwood, and the budding star began to make frequent appearances in the starting lineup. Greenwood proved to be a reliable forward with his exceptional dribbling, ability to use both feet equally well, and versatility, which allowed him to play in every attacking role. Though the departure of Solskjær, poor form from star players, and lack of chemistry on the pitch have led to a slow start for United in the 2021-2022 season, Greenwood has been a regular starter and has played to his best ability for the team. Current Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick praised Greenwood following his outstanding performances in December: “He’s a massive talent […] Technically, for his age, he is a great player. My job is to develop him, to make an athlete out of him, and if he manages to do that, [he] can be a regular player for this club.”
Considering Greenwood’s presence and exceptional attitude for United, it is no surprise that the news of his arrest has made a tremendous impact on the soccer community. Many big name sponsors and brands, including sportswear company Nike and video game developer EA Sports, have cut ties with the United player. In addition, Greenwood is no longer available to play in active squads of the mobile game FIFA 22, and his merchandise has been removed from United’s store. His actions horrified his followers, many of whom spoke out on social media expressing their disappointment in him. A substantial number of fans requested to exchange their Greenwood jerseys, some even going as far as to burn the shirts bearing his name in a bonfire.
The allegations against Greenwood have also caused a rift between the players in United’s dressing room. Rangnick confirmed that there have been conversations about Greenwood’s arrest: “We have had internal discussions, but I’m pretty sure everyone will understand those internal discussions should stay internal.” Several United players have looked to distance themselves from Greenwood, with a handful of players unfollowing him on Instagram and refraining from speaking publicly about the circumstances. However, a few players believe that they should wait for all the details of the investigation before choosing sides, citing that Greenwood is “innocent until proven guilty.” A player explained that this situation has highlighted the poor chemistry between players. It is no secret that United’s dressing room has not been the best as a result of their recent form, and this state of affairs only exemplifies the disparate views that the players have.
Greenwood’s accuser, Robson, issued a statement a few days after Greenwood’s arrest, thanking the public for their support and stating that she will take a break from social media until the police investigations are complete. Robson’s father also spoke out about the situation, explaining the details as to how the claims and footage spread so quickly across the internet. “She has told us her phone has been hacked. We told her to take it down, which she has done, but it’s out there now, so it is too late,” he said. “Their relationship has not been good for the last few months. She is completely devastated by it all.”
Greenwood has not only ruined his career, but his actions have also had a detrimental impact on Robson, her family, and Manchester United supporters. More must be done to educate professional soccer players on how devastating of an impact their actions can have on the lives of others. We have to remind players that their acclaimed status as athletes does not give them any right to commit these disgraceful acts. Clubs must do more to communicate with all of their players and ensure that they are always acting in a professional manner. With club veterans and coaches taking a larger step toward educating the younger generation of players, we will hopefully see less players committing sexual assault in the future.