Oh Twitter, thy 42 characters art so beautiful and inviting, but dost cause so much pain. Vile temptress! Why, Twitter? Why dost thou mock me so?
That’s what Pat Welch must be saying to himself right now — or words to that effect. The guard from Pembroke Academy in Concord, NH, had been named the NHIAA Division II Boys Player of the Year, but the New Hampshire Basketball Coaches Organization stripped him of the award after learning of a tweet he sent following the NHIAA Division II boys’ basketball state title game.
“I don’t believe the punishment fits the crime,” said Welch’s coach, Matt Alosa, who coached the Division II boys’ all-star team at the annual NHBCO Granite State High School games at New Hampshire Technical Institute.
The tweet was posted by Welch on March 15 right after the Spartans’ win over Portsmouth High. The NHBCO on Friday stripped Welch of his Division II Player of the Year Award and rescinded his invitation to participate in Sunday’s senior game and in the annual Twin State Games slated in July at NHTI.
“They basically took away Pat’s body of work this season because of a tweet that ended up online for 15 minutes,” said Alosa.
The NHBCO named another player as Div. II Player of the Year in Welch’s place.
According to the New Hampshire Union Leader, the tweet was only live for 15 minutes before Welch deleted it. The player also apologized personally to members of the Portsmouth High administration. But it wasn’t enough.
So, does the punishment fit the crime here? Is the association overreacting? Should there be a five-second rule for social media — like when you drop a cookie onto the floor — so if you delete it before the five seconds is up, it never happened?