Manchester United Drops Mason Greenwood After Abuse Charge
Manchester United said it had suspended its young forward Mason Greenwood and would bar him from playing matches or even training with his teammates after he was accused by a woman on Sunday of assaulting her. The woman made the claim in a post on her personal social media account that included images, video and an audio recording.
United issued the first of two statements about Greenwood shortly after the woman’s post became a trending topic on social media. In its statement, the club said it was aware of the allegations against Greenwood but would not comment further until the facts had been established.
A few hours later, and after the woman’s claims were removed from her account, the club issued a second statement in which it announced that it was temporarily sidelining Greenwood, a 20-year-old graduate of United’s academy and one of the brightest young English talents in the Premier League, the world’s richest domestic soccer league.
“Mason Greenwood will not return to training or play matches until further notice,” the team said.
On Sunday evening, the Greater Manchester Police announced that they had been made aware of “online social media images and videos posted by a woman reporting incidents of physical violence,” a description that closely mirrored the public accusations against Greenwood and the swirl of publicity they had caused earlier in the day.
The police confirmed that “a man in his 20s has since been arrested on suspicion of rape and assault” and that he remained in custody for questioning. In keeping with British police protocol, it did not name the man who was arrested.
The images accusing Greenwood of assault were posted on Instagram on Sunday morning but disappeared, along with the rest of the images on the woman’s account, soon afterward.
British and online news media outlets reported on Sunday that the police had visited Greenwood’s home on Sunday.
Greenwood, a forward who started his first match for United as a 17-year-old and made his debut for England’s national team a month before his 20th birthday last fall, has been a mainstay on United’s team despite its faltering season, becoming a regular starter ahead of a group of more experienced forwards on the club’s roster. Last week, United announced that Anthony Martial, a French forward, and one of the players displaced by the emergence of Greenwood, had been loaned to Sevilla in Spain for the rest of the season.
Greenwood made no public comments on the allegations on Sunday. Nike, one of his personal sponsors, said in a statement that it was “deeply concerned by the disturbing allegations and will continue to closely monitor the situation.”