On November 13th, 2018, now former, Fitchburg State basketball player, Kewan Platt, was ejected from the game for elbowing an opposing player in the face.
It was late in the game and the Falcons were trailing Nichols 73-63. Nate Tangelia, Nichols point guard, went up for a baseline three-pointer. When he came down, Platt elbowed Tangelia in the face out of frustration with not getting a call at the other end of the court on the last Falcons possession.
Platt was immediately ejected from the game and Tangelia was awarded three free throws.
Brian Kleczkowski, a Junior at Fitchburg State, who was at the game that night, said, “It wasn’t like one of those things where it happened and everyone flipped out. It more like, it happened and no one really knew what happened at first. They were all kind of in shock.”
Following the incident, the video was posted online and it went viral. On Twitter, Michael Rapaport tweeted that he should be arrested. All of the major sports newscasts picked it up and were talking about it. Many of them, including Mike Greenberg of ESPN, said that it was the dirtiest play they had ever seen.
The day after the game, which Fitchburg had lost 84-79, Platt was suspended indefinitely from Fitchburg State and barred from campus.
Because of the national coverage, the students at FSU are worried about how their school is being scrutinized.
Allie St. Peter, a Junior at FSU, said, “I think that it’s upsetting to see all the negativity brought on to our school from just one person’s actions.”
Eric Patel, a Sophomore at FSU, said “Overall the situation was shocking in my opinion. Definitely hope it doesn’t affect how the nation views FSU and its students.”
The University released a statement the following day on twitter saying:
“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. 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.”
Andrew Gagnon, a Senior at FSU, works at the information desk in Hammond Hall. The morning following the incident, he said that there was an overwhelming amount of calls from people expressing their disappointment with the situation.
The Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference also released a statement on Twitter saying:
The MASCAC and Fitchburg State University take this incident very seriously. We are appalled by the actions of the student-athlete. He has been indefinitely suspended from the team and barred from campus. (1 of 3)
In addition, the case is under review by Fitchburg State for consideration of further sanctions. The MASCAC has also vacated his player of the week award. His behavior goes against the MASCAC’s mission which includes good sportsmanship. (2 of 3)
On behalf of the MASCAC and Fitchburg State, we apologize to the Nichols College student-athlete, the team, and institution. (3 of 3)
Platt released an apology on Instagram on Friday the 16th, saying, “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 wrote. “What I did was 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 to my teammates, the coaching staff, the university and the whole basketball community.”
The Point reached out to both the Athletic director of Fitchburg State and the head coach of the basketball team for statements, but neither of them have responded.
Student-athletes were informed to not speak to the press about the situation. They were also told to not post anything on social media about the issue.