Riley Calls Out Manchester United on Mason Greenwood
Rachel Riley has accused Manchester United of mistreating Mason Greenwood by mishandling the decision to let him go. The club confirmed Greenwood's departure on Monday after a six-month internal investigation into his behaviour. This decision followed dropped charges against Greenwood, including attempted rape and assault, back in February.
Rachel Riley, a television presenter and Manchester United fan, criticized the club's handling of the situation. She accused the club of both "gaslighting" and manipulating information to make people doubt the truth, green lighting abuse on social media by making statements that could embolden abusers. She expressed disappointment in her beloved club's contribution to a culture that discourages reporting of abuse.
Manchester United defended their decision with a statement explaining the extensive process they undertook. They stated that Greenwood didn't commit the offenses he was originally charged with and that the evidence available to them didn't present the full picture. Chief executive Richard Arnold also emphasized that they considered multiple outcomes, and their perspective evolved.
Rachel Riley asserted that the core question was not about Greenwood's criminal guilt but whether he was suitable to be associated with the club as a role model. She expressed deep disappointment in the club's response.
The case started when Greenwood was arrested in January 2022 following allegations concerning online content. He was later charged in October 2022 but had these charges dropped in February 2023 due to withdrawn witnesses and new evidence surfacing. Manchester United then conducted their own investigation, leading to the recent decision.
Greenwood is now seeking a new club, with a potential move abroad, possibly to Turkish club Istanbul Basaksehir. Another option that was considered, a lucrative offer from Saudi Arabian club Al-Ettifaq, now seems less likely. One major factor affecting Greenwood's potential moves is Cristiano Ronaldo's influence. Ronaldo reportedly discouraged Saudi clubs, who are trying to grow their women's league, from pursuing Greenwood due to alleged critical comments Greenwood made about Ronaldo in the past.
Despite high hopes for a partnership between Cristiano Ronaldo and Mason Greenwood at Manchester United, their collaboration did not prove successful. The relationship was strained, with moments of effective collaboration being rare. Ronaldo's criticism of young players within the team, potentially including Greenwood, further complicated the dynamic.
Women’s Aid, an organization focused on domestic abuse, responded to the announcement, stating that Greenwood’s departure from the club might be a relief for many survivors of abuse. They emphasized the importance of addressing attitudes and working with players to stand against sexism and misogyny.