Rasir Bolton, now an Iowa State guard, said he transferred to Penn State last summer after head coach Pat Chambers told him he had a “noose” around his neck, ESPN reported.
What We Know:
- Bolton posted his experience on Twitter Monday, explaining that Penn State’s current head men’s basketball coach, Pat Chambers, said Bolton had a “noose” around his neck, most likely a variation of the expression “on a short leash”. The situation allegedly came a day after the coach served a one-game suspension for shoving Penn State’s Myles Dread during a conference game against Michigan in the 2018-19 season.
- “A noose: symbolic of lynching, slavery and racial terrorism. Due to other interactions with [Chambers], I knew this was no slip of the tongue. I reported this immediately to my academic advisor. I confronted Coach Chambers. I spoke directly with the [athletic director’s] office myself,” Bolton’s tweet noted.
- Bolton noted that after reporting the incident, Coach Chambers admitted to using the term. Bolton added that he was given one meeting and a phone number for a psychologist to learn ways to deal with personality types like Chambers’.
- He also referenced a situation later that year where Chambers attempted to compliment Bolton by saying his parents were “well-spoken” and “organized,” which he took as “subtle insults” rooted in stereotypes about African Americans.
- Chamber’s issued an apology Monday in response to Bolton’s claims. “I’ve realized the pain my words and ignorance caused Rasir Bolton and his family and I apologize to Rasir and the Bolton family for what I said.”
— Patrick Chambers (@Coach_Chambers) July 6, 2020
- Bolton and his family dubbed the university’s response as “surface level resources” after reporting the incident.
- Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour said her department will implement steps to offer student-athletes more opportunities to express themselves in the future. Those steps include the creation of an “Intercollegiate Athletics Response Team” and a survey to “offer an opportunity for the Intercollegiate Athletics community to provide feedback on the culture, climate and experience as it pertains to diversity, inclusion, respect and acceptance.”
- “Patrick Chambers deeply regrets the words he chose and understands the pain he caused Rasir Bolton and his family,” Barbour said in a statement. “Patrick has stated that he is committed to educating himself and he is actively working to learn and grow, which will be imperative to his future success at Penn State.” She added, “Our black community of students, faculty and staff must have the opportunity to feel safe, respected and welcome at Penn State, and clearly our past actions and words have not always contributed positively to that goal. It is our obligation to embrace all in our community regardless of differences — the color of their skin, their ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, disability or gender should not matter.”
Rasir Bolton, who averaged 14.7 PPG last season at Iowa State, concluded his statement by adding “there is a serious need for change in the way players are protected and helped across the country when faced with these situations. Surface level resources are not good enough. In most cases, it is the coach who is protected, while the player is left to deal with it or leave. BE the change you want to see.”