Iowa State junior guard Rasir Bolton recently spoke to ESPN’s The Undefeated to share his experience at Penn State and what led him to transfer from their basketball program. In the story, he revealed that Penn State coach Pat Chambers told him he wanted to “loosen the noose around his neck” as a metaphor for relieving pressure in January 2019. Chambers said he was unaware of the connotations that imagery carries toward Black men. Bolton relayed the remark to his academic advisor, and was then referred to Penn State’s sports psychologist.
Bolton claims he was instructed on how to deal with Chambers’ personality type, and Chambers was not forced to complete any further sensitivity training by the university. Rasir’s parents, Ray and Chalonda, raised concerns with Penn State’s athletic director after Myles Dread, Rasir’s roommate, was shoved by Coach Chambers in a nationally televised game. Chambers was suspended 1 game for the incident.
The “noose” comment came in the days following the incident with Dread. Bolton also claims that he & his parents did not receive a true apology from Chambers in a meeting following the remark. Chambers has since released a formal apology on his personal Twitter account, and admitted to making the “noose” comment.
Rasir told The Undefeated he felt compelled to share his story after Chambers was invited to be a panelist by the National Association of Basketball Coaches on how to address racial injustice in college sports. It was also revealed that the incident was part of Bolton’s appeal to the NCAA for immediate eligibility at Iowa State, where he was the Cyclones’ second-leading scorer in 2019-2020 with 14.7 points per game.