Sunday, September 03, 2006

Sydney Kings Basketball Player Charged With Rape

By Tim Morrissey and Marnie O'Neil

STAR American import Bryant Matthews has been sacked by the Sydney Kings after being charged with the rape of a 21-year-old woman in an Alexandria apartment.

Police charged Matthews, 24, with two counts of sexual intercourse without consent after he attended the Redfern police station on Thursday.

Matthews was granted conditional bail, but was stripped of his US passport at least until he faces court on September 18.

He is accused of raping a Canadian woman in an apartment in Mitchell Rd, Alexandria last week.

The woman reported the incident to Newtown police on Thursday, several hours before Matthews spoke to police.

He was accompanied by a Coogee man, 24, who was charged with concealing a serious offence.

The Coogee man was also bailed to September 25.

Kings chairman John Kench told The Sunday Telegraph the club immediately terminated Matthews, a former college star from South Carolina.

"I understand he has been charged,'' Kench said. "It's now a police matter, and the police have to deal with it.

"He (Matthews) can go and get his own legal advice and do what he needs to do.

"We're not prepared to tolerate any of this at the Kings, so we terminated his contract.''

Two other, unnamed Kings players are believed to be helping police with their inquiries, but are not implicated in the alleged rape.

"They were not involved in any way,'' Kench said.

Kings captain Jason Smith said the players had been told on Friday that "something big was going down'' but were not given details.

"We've really only just found out what's happened (with Matthews), but we don't know any of the details,'' Smith said yesterday.

Matthews was to have played a key role for the Kings in the 2006-07 NBL season, which begins in three weeks.

His sudden termination has thrown the Kings' preparations into turmoil, forcing the club to begin searching for a suitable replacement.