Mason Greenwood and Harriet Robson. Photo: Twitter
Mason Greenwood and Harriet Robson. Photo: Twitter
At the end of January, the global sports community was rocked by the news that rising England star and young Manchester United striker Mason Greenwood had been implicated in a horrific case of domestic abuse.
The dramatic story broke across the globe when social media posts appeared on the Instagram account of one-time girlfriend Harriet Robson, with the images revealing bruises and cuts on her body and a caption stating: “To everyone who wants to know what Mason Greenwood actually does to me”.
The series of disturbing posts clearly indicated a case of serious domestic abuse, while an audio clip also emerged that implicated Greenwood in abusive and threatening behaviour.
Greenwood was subsequently arrested, before being released on bail as the police continue to investigate the matter.
What Manchester United have said:
Soon after the incident came to light on 30 January, Manchester United release a statement to say “we are aware of images and allegations circulating on social media”. Later on that same day, United confirmed Greenwood had been suspended indefinitely: “Mason Greenwood will not return to training or play matches until further notice.”
United subsequently released a new statement following developments, saying: “Manchester United reiterates its strong condemnation of violence of any kind. As previously communicated, Mason Greenwood will not train with, or play for, the club until further notice.”
Around that time, United were preparing for their FA Cup fourth round tie against Middlesbrough, and although interim manager Ralf Rangnick didn’t want to discuss the case at length, he did reveal there were internal discussions on the go.
“To be honest I didn’t speak that much with the current players about what happened, I’m pretty sure that they did. Obviously we had internal discussions but I’m pretty sure everyone will understand those internal discussions should stay internal,” he said.
“It’s an unusual situation for everybody and nobody would want to experience that. It’s an ongoing process… Obviously everybody would have wanted those things not to happen but they did and this is what it’s all about in life not only in professional football that you have to stay together and be united on that and still keep going.”
Rangnick also revealed that the decision to keep Jesse Lingard at Old Trafford rather than go on loan was partly influenced by Greenwood’s arrest.
“We had a problem with Mason Greenwood and being without a player for the time being who has played in [recent] weeks and, together with the club not finding an agreement with another club [for Lingard], this is why he stayed.”
It was also confirmed that United will allow supporters who have purchased shirts with Greenwood’s name printed on them to change them for another shirt and name of their choice.
How police have responded to the case:
On the evening of 30 January, news first emerged that Greenwood had been arrested on “suspicion of rape and assault”, with the Greater Manchester Police (GMP) stating they had been granted more time to question him.
“The suspect was arrested yesterday (Sunday 30 January) afternoon and remains in custody. Enquiries are ongoing and the victim is being offered specialist support,” a police statement read at the time.
“We remind people to avoid any commentary or sharing of images that could compromise the victim’s right to lifelong anonymity, or risk prejudicing a live investigation with active proceedings.”
Further charges were then levelled against Greenwood based “on suspicion of sexual assault and threats to kill”, while the the 20-year-old was released on bail as the police investigation continues.
What we have heard from the Robson family:
According to overseas website Joe.co.uk, Robson’s father initially stated that Robson’s phone was “hacked” and that she didn’t want the pictures to be released.
“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,” Robson’s father was quoted as saying. “She is devastated because she didn’t want it released. We have known him (Greenwood) since the under 21s. He has been part of our family for two or three years. Their relationship has not been good for the last few months. She is completely devastated by it all. They were very much in love and have been together for a while. The police are dealing with it now.
“As a father you don’t want to know things like that happening to your daughter. The police have been round and she has made a statement to them,” he added.
In early February, Robson herself posted a message of thanks after a “difficult” few days following the arrest of Greenwood, while confirming she would be taking a break from social media.
“I’m grateful to everyone that has sent messages of support and encouragement – thank you,” she wrote. “The last few days have been very difficult and I’m taking a break from social media while the police make their investigations.”
That social media post has received nearly 200,000 likes, while Robson has not made a public statement since then.
Nike also released a statement after terminating a lucrative endorsement agreement with Greenwood:
Following the allegations and investigation, Nike issued a statement to say it was “deeply concerned by the disturbing allegations and will continue to closely monitor the situation” and that “Mason Greenwood is no longer a Nike athlete”.
Greenwood will receive no compensation after being dropped from his Nike sponsorship deal, but will continue to be paid his £75,000-a-week salary from United pending the outcome of any criminal proceedings. It now remains o be seen what the outcome will be.
*Content warning: This article contains graphic images and viewer discretion is advised.