Updated: Aug 7
BY: MICHAEL MILLSTEIN
The concerningly long list of current athletes facing serious allegations of sex crimes has acquired a new member, Manchester City’s left-back, Benjamin Mendy. Since joining Manchester City from Monaco for a reported €52,000,000 ($61,342,580) in 2017, the French international has produced various headlines for his sumptuous play on the field. However, for reprehensible conduct outside the lines, Mendy now finds his name cast in a poor light as he faces allegations consisting of four counts of rape and one count of sexual assault. The first three counts of rape stem from isolated incidents back in October of 2020, with the most recent allegation occurring just this past week. Although three of the alleged victims are under the age of 18, the laws governing the age of consent in England and America vastly differ. England’s legislature has set the age of consent at 16, with no “Romeo and Juliet” clause. This means that a 27-year-old, like Mendy, can legally have sexual relations with a girl who is at least 16.
Nevertheless, to make matters worse for Mendy, who was previously out on bail, the new rape allegation has placed him in violation of the conditions of his bail. Now, he is currently remanded by British authorities. With the police investigation now underway, Manchester City released a statement in which they informed the public that Mendy is suspended pending the outcome of the investigation. In spite of his current suspension from the club, Mendy’s legal team still is pursuing a bail application so Mendy can at least handle these matters from the comfort of his home. Mendy noted that being placed into police custody taught him a “tough lesson” and enlightened him on how to act going forward. In an act of good faith, Mendy offered to surrender €50,000 ($58,982) to the court and subject himself to electronic monitoring.
Despite Mendy’s attempts at reconciliation, given the nature of the charges pending against him and his previous falters in adhering to bail conditions, district judge, Jack McGarva denied bail. The judge reasoned that he simply cannot trust Mendy to not repeat the same course of action. With Judge McGarva’s decision, Mendy spent a the coming weekend locked up, and remained behind bars until his next court date on September 10. Since then, the court has announced a trial date for Mendy, set for January 24, 2022.
Manchester City and manager Pep Guardiola have since turned to the veteran Ukrainian, Oleksandr Zinchenko to replace Mendy. However, a recent injury to Zincehnko has left City struggling to find a replacement, and they are having trouble scoring league goals as a result.
With the transfer window set to reopen in January, if Manchester City either cannot get Zinchenko back healthy nor anticipate Mendy’s return if the charges are dropped, look for them to potentially target a new wing back to serve as Zinchenko’s understudy. An interesting target whose name I expect to circulate in the coming days is Atletico Madrid’s star Brazilian left-back, Renan Lodi. Lodi will not, however, come cheap. So, if City are looking to be conservative with their spending, they may inquire about either Napoli’s Mario Rui or Roma’s Matias Vina. Whether or not Manchester City pull the trigger on Mendy’s replacement is a decision that will have to be made prior to knowing his legal outcome, and the sports world will be excitedly awaiting the outcome.
 Sky News, “Benjamin Mendy: Manchester City defender appears in court after being charged with four counts of rape and one of sexual assault.” Sky News, Aug. 27, 2021. https://www.skysports.com/football/news/11679/12392150/benjamin-mendy-manchester-city-defender-appears-in-court-after-being-charged-with-four-counts-of-rape-and-one-of-sexual-assault  Id.  “Children and the law.” NSPCC, Apr. 13, 2021. https://learning.nspcc.org.uk/child-protection-system/children-the-law  Benjamin Mendy, supra note 1.  “Club Statement.” Manchester City, Aug. 26, 2021. https://www.mancity.com/news/club/club-statement-63765586  Josh Halliday, “Benjamin Mendy: footballer remanded in custody on rape charges.” Aug. 27, 2021. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/aug/27/benjamin-mendy-footballer-remanded-in-custody-on-charges  Id.  Id.  Manchester City defender Benjamin Mendy to stand trial for rape in January, France 24 (Oct. 09, 2021) https://www.france24.com/en/sport/20210910-manchester-city-defender-benjamin-mendy-to-stand-trial-for-rape-in-january.