The New Hampshire Basketball Coaches Organization made a controversial call on Friday when it stripped Pembroke Academy player Pat Welch of his Division II Player of the Year honor after an unsportsmanlike tweet. It was the right call.
Pembroke Academy had just defeated Portsmouth for the Division II state championship. Welch took to Twitter to gloat and say to the Portsmouth players, "you suck." He later deleted the tweet, but the damage was done.
"... Pat Welch displayed flagrant un-sportsmanlike behavior," the coaches organization said in a statement. "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."
Kudos to the coaches for putting character and sportsmanship first. As for Welch, he apologized in person to Portsmouth's principal, athletic director and coach. It would have been harder, and more appropriate, to apologize directly to the Portsmouth players. He will not win back the award, but such a display of character would show that he strives to live up to its spirit nonetheless, which would be more impressive than winning two state titles.