The New Hampshire Basketball Coaches Organization stripped its Division II player of the year of that honor after the senior posted an offensive unsportsmanlike comment on his Twitter account.
Two days after naming Pembroke (N.H.) Academy guard Pat Welch the division's top player for the second straight year, the organization rescinded the award along with offers to play in a pair of postseason all-star games because of a tweet he posted in the aftermath of his team's 49-40 state championship victory against Portsmouth (N.H.), according to multiple reports out of the Granite State.
"Shout out to Portsmouth, you may have won the regular season...... But we won the ship you suck," Welch wrote on Twitter, punctuating his statement with a hashtag that featured an expletive.
Welch reportedly deleted the tweet within 15 minutes of posting it on March 15, the same day he scored 15 points in his team's second consecutive state title win. The 6-foot-1 guard has since apologized in person to members of the Portsmouth administration, his coach told the New Hampshire Union Leader.
However, NHBCO president Gary Noyes announced the decision to replace Welch with Concord (N.H.) Bishop Brady junior guard Jourdain Bell as the organization's Division II player of the year a few days later. Here is the NHBCO's statement to the local media, according to the Concord Monitor.
“The NHBCO is disappointed to announce the unfortunate decision to rescind the Division 2 Player of the Year awarded to Pat Welch from Pembroke Academy. Last week, Pat Welch was named by the Division 2 coaches as their Player of the Year. Since that time, it has come to the NHBCO executive board’s attention that Pat Welch displayed flagrant un-sportsmanlike behavior. We have contacted Pembroke Academy and informed them of our decision.
"Pat Welch will not be allowed to represent his school at either the senior games being held at NHTI this Sunday nor at the Twin State game vs Vermont this summer. It is with great sadness that this committee has to act on this situation, but we strive to uphold the tenet that this award is not based solely on a basketball player’s ability but also on that player’s character and demonstrated sportsmanship.
“It has been decided that Jourdain Bell from Bishop Brady will be selected as the Division 2 Player of the Year.”
Count Pembroke Academy coach Matt Alosa among those who believe the NHBCO went too far in punishing his star player. "I don't believe the punishment fits the crime," he told the Union Leader.
Welch reportedly averaged 22 points, five assists and four rebounds for Pembroke this past season. Meanwhile, Bell produced 24 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and five steals for the Green Giants.
Still, Alosa disagrees with the organization's decision. "They can give it to him," he added. "But as far as I'm concerned, Pat Welch is still the player of the year."
(h/t Barstool Sports)
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