Basketball star Mitch Creek remains ineligible for Olympic selection and the NBL could yet stand him down again after his legal team argued for his reinstatement despite a serious charge having over his head.
There was strong criticism of the league’s decision on Tuesday to allow Creek, who was charged by Victorian Police on March 15 for an allegedly assaulting a woman last November, to resume training and playing with the South East Melbourne Phoenix.
Creek, 28, had been charged with intentionally causing injury, recklessly causing injury and unlawful assault over an incident in Melbourne’s western suburbs on November 22 last year.
Having originally stood the 28-year-old down, the NBL was legally forced to let Creek train and play after his lawyer questioned the league’s rules, which don’t include a stand-down policy like the NRL.
As a result, Creek’s representatives stressed there were no legal grounds to stop the Phoenix forward from playing.
His lawyers, who have announced they will be defending the charge, also believe he should be allowed to play unless he is convicted.
But the NBL still has the authority to reverse their position depending on the outcome of a court hearing on April 21.
Until then, Creek is free to train and play with the Phoenix and will be available to play in Thursday night’s game against the Illawarra Hawks.
But Creek’s chances of representing Australia at this year’s Tokyo Olympics remain in grave doubt.
Basketball Australia chairman Ned Coten said the organisation was considering Creek’s situation and would have a position within the next 24 hours.
However, under AOC policy the South East Melbourne forward is ineligible to be a member of the Australian Boomers Olympic team as he has been charged with a violent offence.
Creek was stood down, as mutually agreed by all parties, when he was charged on March 15.
The decision to allow Creek to play has sparked outrage among fans.
On Tuesday, his lawyers were informed that his court hearing, scheduled for this Thursday, had been adjourned and rescheduled to be heard later next month after he notified the court he would be contesting all charges.
Creek will relinquish his co-captaincy of South East Melbourne and will not participate in any community activities with the Phoenix until the matter has been determined by the courts.
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