Morseu removed from Olympic role after conviction

Roger Vaughan |

Australian Olympic Team Chef de Mission Anna Meares was unaware of Danny Morseu’s assault charge.
Australian Olympic Team Chef de Mission Anna Meares was unaware of Danny Morseu’s assault charge.

Danny Morseu’s assault conviction has devastated and angered colleagues at the Australian Olympic Committee, who only found out about his trial this month.

The two-time Olympic basketballer has been removed from his role at deputy chair of the AOC’s Indigenous Advisory Committee after he was found guilty of one charge of assault occasioning bodily harm against a woman in June 2022.

He was sentenced to 18 months in jail last week at Cairns District Court, suspended after four months.

Paris team chef de mission Anna Meares and assistant Kyle Vander-Kuyp, another member of the IAC, said not knowing about the case had compounded how they felt.

“This is a very serious offence … abuse against anyone, abuse against women is just not tolerated,” Meares said on Tuesday.

“As soon as the AOC were informed, Danny was removed from his position … as a result of that.

“It’s a real shock and a disappointment, of course – and the trauma associated, not just in a physical sense but long past that, is noted.

“You don’t know what you don’t know, do you? It’s one thing to ask, it’s another thing to tell. If you don’t know, you just don’t know.”

Kyle Vander-Kuyp was disappointed and felt blind-sided by Danny Morseu’s assault conviction. (Matt Turner/AAP PHOTOS)

Vander-Kuyp, like Morseu, is an Indigenous athlete who represented Australia at two Olympics and also serves on the IAC, which was formed in 2019.

Vander-Kuyp, who competed at the Games in the 110m hurdles, worked as an assistant chef de mission for the first time at the Tokyo Olympics and will have the same role again in Paris.

He said much ground has been made for the Indigenous cause at the AOC, noting the artwork on the Paris team uniforms and the record 16 athletes who competed in Tokyo.

“The outcome that’s just come to light is a shock. I’m disappointed,” he said.

“I take our role very seriously and it’s such a privileged position to have a voice, be at the table, advising sport, particularly around the Indigenous space.

“I’m so happy that Australians are embracing that Indigenous artwork, as Australian athletes.

“But you never know, that young person sitting at home watching the TV, who has that Aboriginal heritage, and goes ‘Mum, I want to be an Australian athlete’.

“I had that fire in the belly from watching Carl Lewis at the ’84 Games.”

Like Meares, Vander-Kuyp spoke of his frustration that he did not know about the charge until the last few days.

“That’s where I really emphasise that I’m disappointed, because we’re all there, we would have heard him out, we would have listened to him,” he said.

“We’re just blindsided – I had no idea. It would have been nice to know.”