Vicious College Basketball Sucker Punch Goes Viral. University Takes Action.

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On Tuesday, in a moment that has gone viral on video, a member of the Fitchburg State University basketball team took advantage of the referee looking the other way and delivered a vicious forearm and elbow to an unsuspecting opponent’s face.

Late in the game between the Fitchburg State Falcons and Nichols College, Nichols College came down the court on offense and a player spotted Nate Tenaglia of Nichols College setting up behind the three-point line. Tenaglia received the pass and launched the shot, leaving his arms up above his head for the follow through.

As Tenaglia had his hands in the air, Kewan Platt, a junior guard for Fitchburg who is the team’s leading scorer, trotted toward him, quickly peered back over his shoulder to make sure the referee wasn’t looking, and delivered a brutal elbow to Tenaglia’s face, knocking him to the floor. Then Platt simply jogged away; he was hit with a technical foul.

According to TMZ, Tenaglia continued to play after the hit. Nichols coach Scott Faucher told Yahoo Sports, “I was proud of how our guys handled the situation. They came together and focused on the next play. Nate actually made the two free throws and stayed in the game. He’s an extremely tough kid. He took the shot, rallied his teammates together and went right to the free throw line.”

Yahoo Sports noted, “Full video of the game confirms that there were no previous physical altercations but does provide a bit more context. Fitchburg State’s previous possession ended with Platt attempting an ill-advised step-back 3-pointer that sailed several feet over the rim, perhaps leaving him frustrated enough to make a poor decision seconds later.”

On Wednesday, Fitchburg State addressed the issue on Twitter, writing, “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.”

MASCAC Commissioner Angela Baumann added:

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. 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. On behalf of the MASCAC and Fitchburg State, we apologize to the Nichols College student-athlete, the team and institution.”

The Democrat and Chronicle reported:

Platt is in his first year at Fitchburg State after transferring from Monroe Community College. He played two years at MCC, averaging 9.5 points in 45 career games. Platt's name is no longer on the Fitchburg State basketball roster on the team's website. Platt was named the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Player of the Week before the game but that award has been vacated.

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