Iowa State guard Rasir Bolton said he left Penn State last summer after coach Patrick Chambers told him he had a “noose” around his neck, ESPN reports.
Chambers made the racially insensitive comment to Bolton in January of 2019, one day after serving a one-game suspension for pushing Penn State’s Myles Dread during a game in the 2018-19 season.
In a statement posted to Twitter on Monday, Bolton expressed that he felt the comment was not a “slip of the tongue” based on other comments and behaviors he experienced from Chambers.
“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,” Bolton’s statement said. “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 went on to say that he reported the comment to the school and was provided only “surface-level resources” and was referred to a psychologist who taught him how to “deal with Coach Chambers’ personality type.” After several meetings that involved his parents, the Athletic Director’s office, and Chambers, Chambers turned around and referred to Bolton’s parents as “well-spoken” and “organized,” which Bolton considered insulting, rightfully so.
Why I chose to leave Penn State. pic.twitter.com/uszEPPJZPM
— 🥳 (@rasir_9) July 6, 2020
Bolton said he experienced “subtle repercussions” after confronting Chambers, and his teammates expressed to him that he was disloyal and could no longer be trusted.
In response, Chamber posted a statement to his own Twitter account, acknowledging the” noose” comment and apologizing to Bolton and his family.
“I failed to comprehend the experiences of others, and the reference I made was hurtful, insensitive and unacceptable,” Chambers tweeted. “I cannot apologize enough for what I said, and I will carry that forever.”
Last month, Chambers participated in the National Association of Basketball Coaches online forum and spoke on the racial climate of collegiate athletics in America, according to ESPN.
— Patrick Chambers (@Coach_Chambers) July 6, 2020
“With racial and social injustice, we’ve gotta make this a consistent fight that we’re not going to stand for this,” Chambers said during the forum. “It can’t just be on this call today, and we know this.”
These comments made by Chambers during the forum are what prompted Bolton to speak out about his experience at Penn State. Bolton spoke to The Undefeated’s Jesse Washington for a story, which came out shortly before Chambers’ apology.