IN SHORT: Social media posts that reached thousands of users have claimed that Nike is renewing ties with English footballer Mason Greenwood after a criminal case against him was dropped. This is, as of 15 February 2023, false.
Posts recently made on Facebook claim that US sportswear giant Nike will reinstate its sponsorship deal with Manchester United footballer Mason Greenwood after a criminal case against him was dropped.
Greenwood was arrested in January 2022 on suspicion of rape and assault after allegations surfaced on social media.
Following this, Nike ended its sporting relationship with him. “Mason Greenwood is no longer a Nike athlete,” it said in a February 2022 statement. The company was one of many that cooled ties with the player.
In October Greenwood was charged with attempted rape, engaging in controlling behaviour and assault. But in February 2023 prosecutors dropped the case, saying there was “no longer a realistic prospect of conviction” after key witnesses stopped cooperating with the investigation.
The posts made on Facebook claim that Nike will now rekindle the relationship.
One post from February 2023 reads: “#Breaking – Official statement from Nike Football: ‘The company will re-sign the sponsorship deal with Manchester United & England player Mason Greenwood on a three year contract plus a twelve month compensation will be paid to the athlete.’
This post attracted nearly 8,000 likes from fans.
Another post with the same claim was published on a Manchester United fan page with 61,000 followers, drawing more than 13,000 likes and 1,200 comments.
Both posts credited the Athletic, a respected subscription-based website that covers sports in the UK and US and is owned by the New York Times.
Following his case being dropped in February 2023, Greenwood added Nike back to his Instagram account, which has 2.7 million followers. Has the sports equipment manufacturer taken him back on, as the posts claim?
No credible reports in mainstream media
In a February 2023 statement to UK media Nike said that their previous statement that the footballer was “no longer a Nike athlete” remained applicable. The company has made no further comment on the matter at time of publication.
An Africa Check researcher also has an active subscription to the Athletic. The publication did report on Nike cutting ties last year. It also carried a number of stories on Greenwood in February 2023 – seven in total – after the criminal case was dropped.
None report on Nike “re-signing” a three-year deal with Greenwood or compensating the player for dropping him.
Manchester United said on 2 February that it was carrying out its own “process before determining next steps”. Until this is completed it is unlikely any of the sponsors who distanced themselves from the player will announce the resumption of ties.
The much-shared posts on Facebook claiming that Nike has restarted its relationship with Greenwood are false.
Republish our content for free
For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false
A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?
Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.Publishers guide
Africa Check teams up with Facebook
Africa Check is a partner in Meta's third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.
The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.
You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.