Ex-Penn State basketball player Rasir Bolton says 'noose' comment by Pat Chambers prompted transfer decision
Former Penn State basketball player Rasir Bolton has issued a statement explaining why he decided to leave the program after his freshman season in State College. An incident with head coach Pat Chambers was the motive.
Bolton, who transferred to Iowa State, tweeted out a statement on Monday detailing why he decided to leave Penn State after one season. He said that comments made by Chambers, including the mention of a noose and other racially insensitive comments, were at the heart of his decision.
“For the past year, many have questioned why I left Penn State after my freshman year. I was a scholarship athlete on the Men’s Basketball team, I got playing time, I started part of the season and I was on the Dean’s List. I formed many relationships at Penn State that I still maintain today. However; no one ever stops to consider that there is more to a college athlete than the sport. We are human, we are young men and women, and in my case, I am a young black man first.
“A ‘noose’ around my neck is why I left Penn State. Head Coach Patrick Chambers, the day after his one-game suspension in January 2019, in talking to me referenced a ‘noose’ around my neck. A noose; symbolic of lynching, defined as one of the most powerful symbols directed at African Americans invoking the history of lynching, slavery and racial terrorism. Due to other interactions with Coach, I knew this was no slip of the tongue.”
Bolton continued to say that, despite reporting his concerns to the proper personnel, very little was done about the situation.
“I reported this immediately to my academic advisor. I confronted Coach Chambers. I spoke directly with the AD’s office myself. My parents contacted the AD’s office in writing and by phone. My parents drove the 5 hours to Penn State to meet with the AD’s office and Coach Chambers more than once. During this time Coach Chambers admitted to what he said.
“I was provided one meeting and a phone number to text with a psychologist. I was taught ‘ways to deal with Coach Chambers’ personality type.’
“Coach Chambers never apologized, he said that he was ‘from the north and wasn’t aware.’ Subtle repercussions followed. Some teammates were told I couldn’t be trusted and I was told the team didn’t trust me; I wasn’t ‘all in’ and ‘loyal.’ Because I stood up for myself? During my final player/coach meeting in April 2019, Coach Chambers told me he was ‘really impressed with how well spoken and organized my parents were.’ Yet, another subtle insult.”
Bolton played at Penn State during the 2018-19 season before transferring to Iowa State. With the Nittany Lions, he averaged 11.6 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. Last season with the Cyclones, Bolton improved in all areas, averaging 14.7 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists per contest.
Below is the full release from Bolton: