The Mason Greenwood saga ended on 21st August with the announcement of his release from Manchester United; Deputy Editor Ilaria Riccio recounts the events that led to this epilogue.
Mason Greenwood has been in headlines for the past eighteen months - and not for his contribution in a Manchester United jersey. The 21-year-old striker was publicly accused of sexual violence in January 2022, and this delicate situation only reached its epilogue on 21st August, when the Red Devils announced Greenwood would be released from the team. This statement, however, is only one additional piece in a rather complex story - but how did we get here?
The story first broke on 30th January 2022, when videos, images, and audio recordings released on social media prompted the arrest of Greenwood for rape, assault, and coercive and controlling behaviour. Manchester United immediately suspended Greenwood, who hasn’t played for the team since. Greenwood was then taken into custody on 2nd February, when he was rearrested on suspicion of sexual assault and threats to kill, as reported by The Sporting News. The player was bailed and continued to deny all charges.
Things went quiet until 15th October 2022, when Greenwood was officially charged with one count of attempted rape, one count of controlling and coercive behaviour and one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm. Taken into custody, the forward was released on bail on 16th November following a private hearing. With a trial date set for 27th November 2023 (as reported by Sky Sports), all charges were dropped on 2nd February 2023 - a year after his first arrest. The Crown Prosecution Service argued that there was “no longer a realistic prospect for conviction” after the “withdrawal of key witnesses and new material that came to light”.
The Crown Prosecution Service argued that there was “no longer a realistic prospect for conviction” after the “withdrawal of key witnesses and new material that came to light.
As charges against Greenwood were dropped, Manchester United launched an internal investigation on the matter - thus maintaining the suspension of the player from the team. The Red Devils remained silent on the matter until the 16th August, when they suggested a final decision was imminent. This statement was released amidst media backlash related to alleged reports that United wanted to consult players on its Women’s team before making a final decision.
On 21st August, Manchester United announced that “it would be most appropriate” that Mason Greenwood continued his football career “away from Old Trafford”, thus confirming the release of the striker from the team. Nevertheless, in the statement, United conceded “that the material posted online did not provide a full picture and that Mason did not commit the offences in respect of which he was originally charged.” Greenwood, too, released a statement on the same day, profusely apologising for his mistakes and expressing his willingness to “be a better person.” Greenwood has since secured a loan move to Spanish side Getafe on deadline day of the summer transfer window.
On 21st August, Manchester United announced that “it would be most appropriate” that Mason Greenwood continued his football career “away from Old Trafford.
It could be argued that United’s final decision to release Greenwood was influenced by the public discourse condemning the player for his action despite charges being dropped. However, the video content is still available on the internet for everyone to form their own opinions on the matter. Sustained pressure from the group 'Female Fans Against Greenwood's Return' also played a part, as they campaigned the Red Devils against reintegrating the striker, The Sporting News reports. Therefore, alongside the direct repercussions on the football world, the Mason Greenwood case has shed light on the power of public opinion on delicate matters such as sexual violence - especially when they involve men with careers in the public eye.