Rasir Bolton: Pat Chambers’ ‘Noose Comment’ Led To Transfer
Update, June 6, 12:05 p.m.: Penn State men’s basketball head coach Pat Chambers has released a statement regarding his referencing of a noose in an off-hand conversation with former Nittany Lion guard Rasir Bolton.
“I’ve realized the pain my words and ignorance caused Rasir Bolton and his family and I apologize to Raisr and the Bolton family for what I said. I failed to comprehend the experiences of others, and the reference I made was hurtful, insensitive, and unacceptable,” Chambers wrote.
Chambers added that he will continue to talk with players and their families in an effort to seek more knowledge and have a better understanding of “diverse perspectives.”
“I love our student-athletes and want each of them to grow and succeed, individually, and as a part of our team. I promise that I will keep listening, I will keep learning, and continue our conversations within our team and our Penn State family,” Chambers added.
Original Story: Former Penn State men’s basketball guard Rasir Bolton posted a tweet Monday morning alleging he transferred in 2019 after head coach Pat Chambers referenced a noose in conversations while practicing.
The incident, Bolton writes, took place in January 2019 around the same time Chambers faced a one-game suspension after he shoved a player in the chest during a timeout. The former Penn State guard told The Undefeated Chambers said he wanted to “loosen the noose that’s around [his] neck.”
“I tell this story because it is not alleged, it was admitted to and documented,” Bolton wrote.
After those comments were made, Bolton said he reported it to his adviser, confronted Chambers, and “spoke directly” with the athletic director’s office. Additionally, his parents were in contact with administrations and reportedly drove hours on end to meet with Chambers in person.
According to The Undefeated, Chambers wasn’t required to complete any diversity or cultural training after the incident. Instead, Bolton was referred to a sports psychologist who helped him “deal with Coach Chambers’ personality type.
Still, according to Bolton’s writing, Chambers didn’t apologize for the incident. He reportedly told Bolton he “was from the north and wasn’t aware” of the noose’s symbolism. Bolton said the process led to distrust among his teammates, who believed he wasn’t “all in” or “loyal.”
Six months later, Bolton heard back from Penn State’s Integrity Office, but it was too late. By then, he’d already transferred to Iowa State and received immediate eligibility to begin playing that fall.
“I wasn’t the first and I know I wasn’t the last. Everyone’s position to speak out isn’t the same, so I am only speaking for myself,” Bolton wrote. “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,” he continued. “In most cases it is the Coach who is protected, while the player is left to deal with it or leave.”
In an interview with The Undefeated, Chambers expressed remorse for using “noose” in conversations and said he’s grown from the altercation.
“It’s not a word that’s in my vocabulary,” Chambers said. “It’s not something I use often. There’s not a moment that goes by that I don’t want to reflect on that choice and, you know, I’m growing from it.”
Penn State did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Bolton’s allegations.
Before Bolton transferred, he was rather productive with the Nittany Lions. As a freshman, he averaged 11.6 points off the bench and appeared in all 32 of the team’s games. He posted 14.7 points per game with the Cyclones in the 2019-2020 season.
We’ll update this post with more information as it becomes available.
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