Wayne Rooney has apologised to his family after pictures of him on a night out started circulating on social media.
This is what you need to know.
Pictures going viral on Twitter of the famous footballer were reportedly brought to the police.
The pictures show Rooney in various states of asleep and awake, clearly drunk. One photo showed Rooney talking to an unknown woman in a dark nightclub, and in another series of pictures he appeared to be asleep on a chair with his hands in his pockets, with various women taking pictures next to him.
The pictures appeared on social media platform Twitter on Sunday (25 July), having first been shared amongst users on WhatsApp.
The Mirror reported that Rooney reported the pictures to Greater Manchester Police as a possible crime, and Cheshire Police have now confirmed that they have dropped a complaint of blackmail made concerning the images.
When the photos first surfaced online, Rooney’s agent Paul Stretford reportedly directed questions to Ian Monk, founder of Monk PR, who offers “high level strategic media consultancy, delivering crisis and issues management solutions to clients for whom control of reputation and positive management of profile are crucial” according to his website.
What has Wayne Rooney said?
Wayne Rooney apologised to his family and Derby after the images emerged on Sunday appeared to show the former England striker asleep in a hotel room surrounded by a group of young women.
Speaking to Sky Sports after Derby’s friendly against Real Betis on Wednesday, Rooney said: “I made a mistake.
"I went to a private party with two of my friends and from me, I’d like to apologise to my family and the club for the images which were going round and I want to move forward on this.
"I’m grateful to Derby County for giving me this opportunity to get this club back to where it belongs, and I’ll do everything in my power to make sure I do that.”
Rooney continued: “It’s dealt with. I’m looking forward to moving forward and preparing for another game on Sunday.”
What was the reaction to the pictures?
At the time, many took to social media to point out the double standard with which Rooney was being treated, stating that if the genders of the parties involved were flipped, it would be taken much more seriously.
One person wrote: “Not sure how it’s somehow OK to take snide photos of a bloke as I’m pretty sure if a bloke was taking photos of a p****d up woman, he’d have been cancelled, sacked and harassed within hours.”
Another Tweeted: “This is absolutely disgusting and needs to be investigated. He looks out the game. Imagine if a fella did this to a woman, I’m sure people would view this in a different light. Wayne Rooney is a father and married man.”
“If Wayne Rooney was a heavily intoxicated female who was taken back to a hotel to be mocked on Snapchat by ‘lads lads lads’ it would be a whole different story. Let’s keep the energy consistent,” wrote another.
“If Wayne Rooney has cheated he’s an absolute scumbag. However, being drunk, passed out and people then taking photos of themselves half naked around him is grim. If a girl was passed out through alcohol and lads got half naked taking pics of her, they’d rightly be arrested,” Tweeted another user.
Who is Wayne Rooney?
Rooney is an England former professional football player, who played much of his career as a forward as well as various midfield roles.
He is regarded as one of the best football players of his generation, and is the record goalscorer for both the England national team and Manchester United.
Currently, Rooney is the manager of Derby County, having initially taken over in November 2020 on a caretaker basis.
Rooney married his girlfriend of six years, Coleen Rooney, on 12 June 2008, and the two have four sons together - Kai Wayne, born 2 November 2009, Klay Anthony, born 21 May 2013, Kit Joseph, born 24 January 2016, and Cass Mac, born 15 February 2018.