Pat Chambers is facing some heat after a former Penn State men's basketball player, Rasir Bolton, shared his reason for transferring last summer. The surprise decision at the time came after insensitive racist remarks, most notably about a noose, directed at Bolton.
In his tweet, Bolton said "a noose around my neck is why I left Penn State." He said that Chambers, after serving a one-game suspension, referenced a "noose around my neck" in talking to him him in January of 2019. He said that "due to other interactions with Chambers," he knew it was not an accident on his part mentioning that symbol, which Bolton said represents "lynching, slavery and racial terrorism." Bolton shared the incident with the school, his academic adviser and even with Chambers. He added that Chambers never apologized to him, saying that he was "from the north and wasn't aware" of the weight that comes with the term, which recently was a controversy with NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace.
The situation never got better as Bolton explained things never felt right for him, between feeling slightly ostracized from teammates to not hearing from anyone but the school's Integrity Office six months later, eventually leading to his transfer to Iowa State where he would go on to average more than 14 points per game last season.
Why I chose to leave Penn State. pic.twitter.com/uszEPPJZPM— 🥳 (@rasir_9) July 6, 2020
While not apologizing at the time according to Bolton, Chambers did come out on Monday after Bolton shared his story to issue his regret over the situation. The head coach said he realizes the "pain my words and ignorance caused" his former player, who was a freshman at the time. He said that the statement he made was "hurtful, insensitive and unacceptable." He concluded his statement by saying, "I will keep learning and continue our conversations within our team and our Penn State family."
In an article on The Undefeated, Bolton and his family further discussed the incident and how it was handled, sharing that Chambers was not required to do any training in diversity and culture after the school learned of the situation. "Rasir was taught how to deal with Coach Chambers," his mother, Chalondra Bolton, explained. "What was Coach Chambers taught?" After he told the University and confronted Chambers, Bolton, who was starting that season, struggled the next game in a loss, but was removed from the lineup in the next game and never started a contest from that point on, though he did finish as the team's second leading scorer at season's end.
Bolton will be entering his junior year next season with Iowa State after finishing just behind the team's leading scorer with 14.7 points per game. Meanwhile, Chambers will be serving his 10th season in Happy Valley.