After school administrators barred him from campus, reporters bombarded him with interview requests and social media commenters demanded he face assault charges or expulsion, Fitchburg State guard Kewan Platt received a brief reprieve from the criticism.
Platt’s former high school coach called Wednesday to offer support and ask how he was coping with the negative attention generated by his vicious cheap shot the previous night.
“The first thing he asked me was, ‘How should I go about making this right, coach?’” said Edson Cardoso, who coached Platt at Charlestown High School in Massachusetts from 2012-2016. “He mentioned he had the other young man’s phone number, so I said you need to reach out to him to apologize for what you did.”
Platt did indeed apologize to Nichols College guard Nate Tenaglia, though it appears he did so only via social media instead of over the phone or in person. On Thursday afternoon, the Fitchburg State junior released a statement on his private Instagram account expressing “deep regret” for waylaying the unsuspecting Tenaglia with a deliberate elbow to the face.
“What I did is totally unacceptable and not justified in any way,” Platt wrote. “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 incident occurred Tuesday night just after Tenaglia drilled a corner 3-pointer with less than three minutes to go in his team’s 84-75 victory. After appearing to turn his head to check if the referee on the baseline was watching, the 6-foot-4 Platt seized his chance to retaliate, leaving the 5-foot-9 Tenaglia writhing on the floor clutching his face.
Once video of the incident spread quickly on social media on Wednesday, Fitchburg State moved quickly to announce Platt’s punishment. The school indefinitely suspended its leading scorer from the basketball team and barred him from campus pending the results of an internal review.
“The Fitchburg State community is appalled by the conduct displayed during Tuesday night’s home basketball game,” the school’s statement read.
“His behavior is antithetical to our community values and good sportsmanship. Fitchburg State does not tolerate behavior that violates those standards.”
Tenaglia does not appear to have sustained significant injuries as a result of the incident, Nichols coach Scott Faucher said Friday afternoon. Faucher added that Tenaglia is “doing well,” has passed a concussion test and intends to play in his team’s next game on Saturday.
Asked if he or his team has heard directly from Platt, Faucher said that the social media apology “has been the extent of it.” He sidestepped multiple questions pertaining to whether Platt should play basketball again this season.
“We trust that Fitchburg is handling everything the right way on their end and will continue to do so,” Faucher said.
“These are 18- to 22-year-old kids who make mistakes sometimes. The kid clearly made a mistake. I’m sure he’s trying to move on just like us.”
Cardoso was unaware of Platt’s actions until Wednesday when a torrent of calls and texts alerted him to the viral video. The Charlestown coach insists what he witnessed from Platt is out of character for a kid he twice named a team captain because of his talent, competitiveness and positivity toward his teammates.
“I was very surprised at what he did,” Cardoso said. “I coached him for four years in high school and I never saw him do anything like this in practice or a game. I was shocked. It caught me off guard.
“He’d never had any behavioral issues before, let alone been suspended from the team.”
After graduating from Charlestown High School in 2016, Platt spent the next two years studying and playing basketball at Monroe Community College in Rochester, N.Y. He played 45 games over two seasons at the school, averaging 9.5 points per game.
Prior to Tuesday’s incident, Platt was making a far greater impact at Division III Fitchburg State. The criminal justice major is averaging a team-best 21.3 points per game so far this season and tallied 33 points and 18 rebounds in his team’s lone victory.
Nichols coach Scott Faucher told Yahoo Sports on Wednesday he’s “not really too sure” what provoked Platt, that “there wasn’t really anything before that, any incidents.” Platt mentioned to Cardoso that he was frustrated over some previous uncalled fouls and lost his head.
“I told him, ‘Kewan, two games ago, you had 33 points and 18 rebounds,’” Cardoso said. “‘Of course people are going to be a little more aggressive when you go to the basket. Guys are going to bump you around. That happens in college basketball.’”
Cardoso’s primary message for Platt during their phone conversation Wednesday night was that he can’t allow this incident to throw his life into disarray. He urged Platt to take responsibility for his mistake, shrug off the negativity and continue working toward his college degree, whether at Fitchburg State or somewhere else.
“I told him it was going to be overwhelming and people are going to point fingers at him,” Cardoso said, “but it’s something that he has to face.”
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