Pat Chambers, the head coach of Penn State’s men’s basketball team, has issued an apology after his former player Rasir Bolton revealed that racist comments the coach made led to him transferring schools last year.
Earlier this week, Bolton took to Twitter to reveal that he chose to leave Penn State because Chambers made a comment towards him referencing a noose around his neck. “A ‘noose’ around my neck is why I left Penn State,” he wrote. “Head Coach Patrick Chambers, the day after his one-game suspension in January 2019, in talking to me referenced a ‘noose’ around my neck. 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 know this was no slip of the tongue.”
Bolton then said he reported the comments to his academic advisor and confronted the coach about his comments. His parents contacted the school and even drove five hours to come to the institution. He said that he was taught “ways to deal with Coach Chambers’ personality type.” Chambers, who has been Penn State’s head coach since 2011, never apologized and said that he was “from the north and wasn’t aware.”
Bolton said he came forward with his story, which was retweeted almost 19,000 times, because Chambers participated in a panel addressing racial injustices back in June.
The coach has since issued an apology to Bolton and his family on social media. “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,” he wrote. “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.”
Read Bolton’s full experience and Chambers’ apology below.