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Penn State Basketball Coach Resigns After Allegedly Telling Black Player He Wanted to ‘Loosen the Noose’ Around His Neck, Claims He Meant to Say ‘Yoke’

Pat Chambers, who for nine years was the head coach for Pennsylvania State University’s men’s basketball, resigned on Wednesday, Oct. 21, following an internal investigation into an inappropriate comment he allegedly made to player Rasir Boltom in January 2019.

The Undefeated reported in July that Chambers told Bolton, who was a freshman starting point guard at the time, that he wanted to “loosen the nose” around his neck.

Pat Chambers. Photo: Fox Video Screenshot

The day after a major home loss to Wisconsin, Chambers spoke to Bolton in the gym.

“I want to be a stress reliever for you. You can talk to me about anything. I need to get some of this pressure off you,” he said. “I want to loosen the noose that’s around your neck.”

Penn State said in a statement that other allegations that Chambers had made inappropriate comments surfaced after the Undefeated report in July. The school launched an internal investigation that same month.

The institution’s vice president for Intercollegiate Athletics, Sandy Barbour, accepted Chambers’ resignation on Wednesday, according to the statement, which also stated that the school was aware of the allegation prior to the article. She did not provide details related to the separate allegation against Chambers.

“Today, I’m announcing my departure from Penn State,” Chambers said in a statement. “I am so proud of all our program has accomplished these past nine years, and I will be forever grateful to the Penn State community for its ongoing support.”

Bolton’s parents emailed the athletic director after the comments were made. Penn State administrators called his words “intolerable.” Bolton was referred to the university’s white psychologist who suggested he get used to Chambers’ personality. Chambers did not undergo any diversity training.

“Rasir was taught how to deal with Coach Chambers,” Bolton’s mother Chalonda Bolton said. “What was Coach Chambers taught?”

Bolton said when he confronted Chambers about the exchange over the phone, the coach said he intended to make a biblical reference and meant to say the word “yoke,” and not “noose.”

Chambers said he apologized for the comment prior to the July article, but Bolton and his parents said he did not.

After the July report, Chambers issued an apology to Bolton: “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,” Chambers 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.”

Bolton received hate mail on social media after Chambers announced his resignation, his father Ray Bolton said. He transferred to Iowa State the summer after the encounter.

Assistant Coach Jim Ferry will serve as the university’s interim head coach for the 2020-2021 season.

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