The Premier League has just begun, yet powerhouse club Manchester United has been riddled in controversy over the handling of rape and domestic abuse allegations against two of their star right-wingers.
Antony, the former $108M transfer, has been dropped from his Brazilian duties for the upcoming international break. This comes after he faces accusations of domestic violence against his ex-girlfriend, Gabriela Cavallin.
The drop from the Brazilian squad comes after new text messages from Cavallin have surfaced, showing the Manchester United winger telling Cavallin, “I hope you die.” Cavallin also posted pictures of her bleeding forehead on Instagram.
Antony denies the accusation, breaking his silence on Instagram. He said he has “never been through a situation similar to this, in which a false assault charge resulted in a preliminary and unfair public judgment on the part of some.”
Manchester United had not commented on the investigation, despite fans calling for Antony to be withdrawn from team selection.
That changed Sept. 6, 2023..
The club commented on the matter on its website, stating “Manchester United acknowledges the allegations made against Antony and notes that the Police are conducting enquiries.” Additionally, the club stated, “We are taking this matter seriously, with consideration of the impact of these allegations and subsequent reporting will have on survivors of abuse.”
As of Sept. 10, 2023, Antony has taken a leave of absence from the Manchester United squad.
The news has affected the locker room and on-pitch play of the team. After heartbreaking last-minute goals from Arsenal players Declan Rice and Gabriel Jesus, Manchester United dropped down to 11th in the Premier League standings.
Although they have won two of their four games, both wins have come with scrutiny toward Antony and the club’s performance against smaller clubs.
The trouble on the field not only coincides with the Antony investigation, but also the decision to loan winger Mason Greenwood to La Liga club Getafe CF. Greenwood faces allegations of rape and sexual abuse.
Greenwood, the 21-year-old former Golden Boy candidate, was removed from team activities in January 2022.
Greenwood’s fall from grace comes after the right-winger was accused of rape by Harriet Robson, his ex-girlfriend.
In audio provided by Robson on her Instagram, a man Robson identifies as “Mason” tries to force Robson to have sex with him.
Greenwood acknowledged the incident in August 2023. He said, “I fully accept I made mistakes in my relationship, and I take my share of responsibility for the situations which led to the social media post.”
Greenwood’s charges were dropped after being investigated by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). CPS says the charges were dropped due to “withdrawal of key witnesses and new material that came to light.” The identity of the key witness is unknown. Since then, Greenwood and Robson have gotten back together and had a child.
Although Greenwood is not facing criminal charges, Manchester United is still investigated Greenwood internally.
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag commented on the matter in July. He said, “It’s a club decision…of course I have said my ideas and opinions but it’s a club decision. We all have to accept that.”