STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — A former Penn State men's basketball player says he transferred in 2019 after head coach Pat Chambers referenced a noose in conversations.
Rasir Bolton, a former freshman guard for Penn State who transferred to Iowa State, says that the incident took place in January 2019, near the same time that Chambers faced a one game suspension for shoving a player in the chest during a time out.
Bolton said that Chambers said he wanted to "loosen the noose that's around [his] neck" in a tweet he posted on Monday:
Bolton said that due to his previous interactions with Chambers, he didn't believe it to be a slip of the tongue.
“I tell this story because it is not alleged, it was admitted to and documented,” Bolton wrote.
Chambers released this statement via Penn State University:
"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. I failed to comprehend the experiences of others, and the reference I made was hurtful, insensitive and unacceptable. I cannot apologize enough for what I said, and I will carry that forever.
I try and respond to mistakes I have made by learning and growing, and I hold myself accountable and strive to be a better person and a better coach. In talking with our players and their families, I am committed to seeking knowledge and gaining a better understanding of diverse perspectives and impact of bias in our society. I have much more to learn.
It is critically important for me to recognize my responsibility in better understanding the experiences of others and I am committed to doing the necessary work required to do just that. 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."
Penn State Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics, Sandy Barbour released the following statement:
Patrick Chambers deeply regrets the words he chose and understands the pain he caused Rasir Bolton and his family. 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.
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. Our community of student-athletes, staff and coaches is stronger because of the diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives they all bring to our competitive venues and classrooms. As leaders, our coaches must model the values of our institution and I remain steadfast in continuing to strengthen the culture of acceptance within our Penn State Athletics Department.
It’s imperative that we all learn from the mistakes of the past – our own and those of others – to move to a more inclusive, just and respectful environment.
This morning, I communicated to all of Intercollegiate Athletics the following steps we are taking to help achieve these goals:
- We will listen by conducting an annual Intercollegiate Athletics climate survey that will 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. The data will give direction in developing and implementing policies, procedures, processes, programming and resources to address concerns and enhance the Intercollegiate Athletics environment and culture.
- We will take action by establishing an Intercollegiate Athletics Response Team to more effectively address issues of concerns affecting the culture, climate and experience of the Intercollegiate Athletics community. The Response Team will partner with appropriate ICA leadership to engage in broader university discussions around developing respectful interactions and communications for resolution.
- We will support growth and change by providing educational opportunities for the Intercollegiate Athletics community to engage in thoughtful and impactful discussions, reflections and actions around pertinent and current issues and/or events that effect culture, climate and experience through the use of best available education and resources.
- We will collaborate with our Student-Athlete Advisory Board’s Welfare Committee whose responsibilities are to work with the Intercollegiate Athletics community to enhance the overall quality of life and personal growth and development of student-athletes through promoting a welcoming and inclusive environment for all student-athletes, and providing input on programming and support services consistent with the core values of the University and Intercollegiate Athletics.
- We will contribute to the efforts of President Barron’s Commission on Racism, Bias and Community Safety in meaningful ways to see change in our community—and the world for that matter.
These steps are just a start. As we listen, learn and create ideas and efforts, we will implement a sustainable department-wide effort.
During his freshman season at Penn State, Bolton averaged 11.6 points per game off the bench, and appeared in all 32 of the Nittany Lions' games.
After transferring to Iowa State, Bolton scored 14.7 points per game in the 2019-2020 season.