Saying he “got frustrated and lost control,” a Division III men’s basketball player apologized Thursday for a sucker punch he threw at an opponent late in a game Tuesday night. Fitchburg State’s Kewan Platt was suspended indefinitely and barred from campus in the wake of his act.
Platt’s cheap shot occurred with less than three minutes to go in his team’s 84-75 loss to Nichols College, just after Nichols’s Nate Tenaglia made a three-pointer from the corner to give the Bison a 76-63 lead. As Tenaglia watched his shot go through the net, Platt ran toward him, appeared to glance at the referee (who had his back turned to the exchange) and then threw his entire forearm into Tenaglia’s face.
“I hereby want to apologize and show my deep regret upon my actions that occurred during the game against Nichols College the other night,” Platt said on his private Instagram account. “What I did is totally unacceptable and not justified in any way. I got frustrated and lost control over my behavior. I know these words cannot undo my wrongdoings. In the future I promise to make better choices.
“I’m not only apologizing to Nate Tenaglia but also tom my teammates, the coaching staff, the University and the whole basketball community.”
After the video of the incident went viral on Wednesday, punishments for Platt were announced by Fitchburg State and the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference, which rescinded the player of the week award the junior guard won this week.
“We are appalled by the actions of the student-athlete,” the conference said in a statement. Platt’s name does not appear on Fitchburg State’s online roster or the team’s statistics.
“The Fitchburg State community is appalled by the conduct displayed during Tuesday night’s home basketball game. The player involved has been indefinitely suspended from the team and barred from campus, effective immediately,” the school said in its statement. “His behavior is antithetical to our community values and good sportsmanship. Fitchburg State does not tolerate behavior that violates those standards. The case is being reviewed at the student conduct level for consideration of further sanctions.”
Tenaglia “was able to complete the game, and we continue to monitor his health,” Nichols Athletic Director Chris Colvin said in a statement. “We are proud of the way our student-athletes handled the incident and that they did not allow it to escalate.”
Colvin said that Fitchburg State was “handling the matter” of Platt’s punishment.
A spokesman for Nichols, Pete Divito, told ESPN that Platt was frustrated for much of the game by Tenaglia’s defense but that there “was no real setup to this.” According to Divito, it was a good thing Tenaglia’s teammates did not see the incident, or the situation could have gotten more ugly.
“We’re happy it didn’t escalate into a brawl,” Divito said.
Here’s another look at the entire sequence from the game broadcast:
As seen in the second video and the full game broadcast, the trailing official appeared to witness the punch and whistled Platt for a foul; according to reports, Platt was also ejected. Tenaglia, who tested negative for a concussion (per ESPN), remained in the game and made the two free throws that immediately followed his three-pointer. Platt, who led the Falcons with 16 points, had been called for a technical foul early in the first half — from the broadcast, he appeared to get in a Nichols player’s face after blocking a shot — and NCAA rules state a player can be ejected for accumulating two technical fouls or one Flagrant 2 foul.
“I couldn’t believe my eyes,” Tenaglia’s high school coach, Phil Conners, told the Sentinel & Enterprise, saying that he was watching the game via a live stream. “Biggest cheap shot I’ve ever seen.”
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