Rasir Bolton: Why I chose to leave Penn State. (A Noose Around My Neck)

CurveballJesus

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Sorry, there are real examples of racism in sports, but this ain't it. It's obvious for anyone without an agenda actively looking for racism everywhere that the context around the coach's language was referencing the player putting so much pressure on himself and failing that they could be considering suicide (not literal suicide for Bolton, but an allusion to it because of the pressure).

Certainly the suicide connotations were the wrong way to approach this with a player. "Weight off your shoulders" would have been better, but I'm sure someone could find a way to make that racial as well.
 

builtbadgers

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Didnt realize telling someone their parents were well spoken and organized was an insult these days.
To someone who has been slighted or victimized or has those feelings it can feel like it is a surprise and does feel racial to some. I have never assumed that it was meant that way. We were taught to articulate, to learn, to present ourselves and take it as a compliment unless of course it was said in a certain way. Even then we can learn from each other. I would have asked the coach why he seemed so surprised and perhaps he could have shared his life experiences in a authentic way. I believe in building bridges through actually telling our stories. That is how we change and grow.
 

Cayman

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Didnt realize telling someone their parents were well spoken and organized was an insult these days.
It could be seen as a backhanded compliment, like expressing surprise that a female technician was able to fix your car, or that a man can be a competent parent. Telling black people that they’re well spoken can come across as having an expectation that black people generally speak poor or unprofessional English.
 

boston.gopher

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When a black player is told that his parents are "well spoken and organized" it expresses that this is somehow not the norm and the coach may have been surprised by this. The coach would most likely never think to say this to a white players parents. This is an example of a microaggression. While not overtly a racist act it assumes that black people aren't or shouldn't be well spoken. Similarly, comments about a noose to a black played just should not occur. These types of comments may not feel offensive to an old school white coach but hundreds of years of history with thousands of examples of a noose being used as a tool to lynch black men is most definitely a racially offensive comment. It seems as though the interactions with the coach and the lack of support from the school made Rasir Bolton feel unsupported and unsafe at Penn State. This type of systemic racism is what so many are currently fighting to change. My white privilege and that of the majority of the country allows us to see this as no big deal when in fact it is a very big deal. My hope is that athletic departments and schools will deal with these types of situations differently to protect students (not just student athletes) as we continue conversations about systemic racism that exists throughout our society.
 

builtbadgers

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When a black player is told that his parents are "well spoken and organized" it expresses that this is somehow not the norm and the coach may have been surprised by this. The coach would most likely never think to say this to a white players parents. This is an example of a microaggression. While not overtly a racist act it assumes that black people aren't or shouldn't be well spoken. Similarly, comments about a noose to a black played just should not occur. These types of comments may not feel offensive to an old school white coach but hundreds of years of history with thousands of examples of a noose being used as a tool to lynch black men is most definitely a racially offensive comment. It seems as though the interactions with the coach and the lack of support from the school made Rasir Bolton feel unsupported and unsafe at Penn State. This type of systemic racism is what so many are currently fighting to change. My white privilege and that of the majority of the country allows us to see this as no big deal when in fact it is a very big deal. My hope is that athletic departments and schools will deal with these types of situations differently to protect students (not just student athletes) as we continue conversations about systemic racism that exists throughout our society.
Great post. If your coach is not way ahead of this game as a result of his own life story you will be behind. First off, we should expect people to bell well spoken. I know a lot of people that speak poorly from every race. It can actually work in your favor if your a minority and have a deep breath and use of words . Terry Porter told me that it went a long way with everyone in getting ahead in any way on the assumption that he was really smart. It worked for me the same way. We were not allowed to say axed when we were trying to say ask. All races have played a role in the destruction of language, the etymology of words, their true meaning. This young man should not have too have suffered for how well spoken his family is at the ignorance of his coach. We do not need to label his coach a racist but we do need him to learn and to grow.
 

bga1

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When a black player is told that his parents are "well spoken and organized" it expresses that this is somehow not the norm and the coach may have been surprised by this. The coach would most likely never think to say this to a white players parents. This is an example of a microaggression. While not overtly a racist act it assumes that black people aren't or shouldn't be well spoken. Similarly, comments about a noose to a black played just should not occur. These types of comments may not feel offensive to an old school white coach but hundreds of years of history with thousands of examples of a noose being used as a tool to lynch black men is most definitely a racially offensive comment. It seems as though the interactions with the coach and the lack of support from the school made Rasir Bolton feel unsupported and unsafe at Penn State. This type of systemic racism is what so many are currently fighting to change. My white privilege and that of the majority of the country allows us to see this as no big deal when in fact it is a very big deal. My hope is that athletic departments and schools will deal with these types of situations differently to protect students (not just student athletes) as we continue conversations about systemic racism that exists throughout our society.
Reactions like this make the ability to converse and improve relations minimal. If there is such a fine line between a compliment and a slight and if people are so ready to be offended, then we never heal. Healing comes through forgiveness and forbearance, not through constant reminder that there have been past sins.

I think Rashir Bolton will be better off in life when he starts to see himself as a just a person first and not a black person first.

I'd like to hear some context on the noose thing. None is offered here.
 

Parcival

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Reactions like this make the ability to converse and improve relations minimal. If there is such a fine line between a compliment and a slight and if people are so ready to be offended, then we never heal. Healing comes through forgiveness and forbearance, not through constant reminder that there have been past sins.

I think Rashir Bolton will be better off in life when he starts to see himself as a just a person first and not a black person first.

I'd like to hear some context on the noose thing. None is offered here.
These days almost anything can be taken as a microaggression. Especially in the turbulent times we are in, there's been a decent amount of phantasmic racism being propagated that doesn't actually exist. Just look at the NASCAR crap that happened like a week ago.
 

builtbadgers

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Reactions like this make the ability to converse and improve relations minimal. If there is such a fine line between a compliment and a slight and if people are so ready to be offended, then we never heal. Healing comes through forgiveness and forbearance, not through constant reminder that there have been past sins.

I think Rashir Bolton will be better off in life when he starts to see himself as a just a person first and not a black person first.

I'd like to hear some context on the noose thing. None is offered here.
The whole of racism covers so many different forms and experiences.I will share one. My father was a bohemian black man on the west coast. He had friends and aquaintences that were early members of the black panther party who where demanding that you had to recognize their blackness. My father told them that he could only recognize their being human as we were all mixed and if you were educated in evolution and pigmentation you would know that a person's skin color had nothing to do with what kind of person you are BUT, he shared that he respected their life journey as long as it was not violent and harmful to others. I was recently told by a mostly white person that i was a racist if i did not make a contribution to black lives matter !
 

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Didnt realize telling someone their parents were well spoken and organized was an insult these days.
Uh... 'hello' – Earth to whomever you are. Rasir sees himself as a black person first because people like you don't allow him to see himself in any other way. He's constantly reminded he's black overtly and by the subtleties. Since when have you been constantly reminded that you're white? If you would rather not be so concerned with Rasir seeing himself as a black man FIRST, then you should take responsibility and help to change how white supremacy revolves around you, your life, your family, friends, work, everywhere. Oh.. I know, you might be thinking its not my fault Rasir is in this predicament. Why am I the person who has to instigate change? Because we all inherited this mess... and we are all responsible for fixing it. Now put down the Doritos bag, get your fat ass off the couch, pry your eyes from the computer for a freaking hour, take a good look in the mirror, reflect, ask yourself some serious questions about race and white supremacy... and tell yourself which side you're going to be on. Good luck.
 

Parcival

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Uh... 'hello' – Earth to whomever you are. Rasir sees himself as a black person first because people like you don't allow him to see himself in any other way. He's constantly reminded he's black overtly and by the subtleties. Since when have you been constantly reminded that you're white? If you would rather not be so concerned with Rasir seeing himself as a black man FIRST, then you should take responsibility and help to change how white supremacy revolves around you, your life, your family, friends, work, everywhere. Oh.. I know, you might be thinking its not my fault Rasir is in this predicament. Why am I the person who has to instigate change? Because we all inherited this mess... and we are all responsible for fixing it. Now put down the Doritos bag, get your fat ass off the couch, pry your eyes from the computer for a freaking hour, take a good look in the mirror, reflect, ask yourself some serious questions about race and white supremacy... and tell yourself which side you're going to be on. Good luck.
You're really going to call this guy an obese white supremacist because he's questioning the inflection of what Coach Chambers said? You weren't present at the meeting, it could've easily just been a compliment that Rasir decided to take as a slight. I know its easy to overreact in the current climate but you're really taking the cake with this one.
 

gopherguy

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You're really going to call this guy an obese white supremacist because he's questioning the inflection of what Coach Chambers said? You weren't present at the meeting, it could've easily just been a compliment that Rasir decided to take as a slight. I know its easy to overreact in the current climate but you're really taking the cake with this one.
you're proving my point... keep coming at me.
 

alchemy2u

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Didnt realize telling someone their parents were well spoken and organized was an insult these days.
How often does a coach offer critique of a players parents? You may think it is innocent, but the fact that he pointed it out as a ”compliment“ means it did not fit his expectations. It is very condescending.
 

CPTMidnight

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Uh... 'hello' – Earth to whomever you are. Rasir sees himself as a black person first because people like you don't allow him to see himself in any other way. He's constantly reminded he's black overtly and by the subtleties. Since when have you been constantly reminded that you're white? If you would rather not be so concerned with Rasir seeing himself as a black man FIRST, then you should take responsibility and help to change how white supremacy revolves around you, your life, your family, friends, work, everywhere. Oh.. I know, you might be thinking its not my fault Rasir is in this predicament. Why am I the person who has to instigate change? Because we all inherited this mess... and we are all responsible for fixing it. Now put down the Doritos bag, get your fat ass off the couch, pry your eyes from the computer for a freaking hour, take a good look in the mirror, reflect, ask yourself some serious questions about race and white supremacy... and tell yourself which side you're going to be on. Good luck.
I would like to present a much scarier concept to you and Rasir than your imaginary evil systemic racism - the strong black leader succeeding without any help. This is the disadvantaged person that is not driven by excuses or jealousy. The black man/woman taking a punch and overcoming it with hard work or in some cases - forgiveness. The black leader shrugging off a particular political party and seizing their position by playing by the rules better than everyone else. As it turns out these are qualities that successful people have no matter the race.

Plenty of examples from successful entrepreneurs, politicians, to the supreme court. Look up former gang member Antoine Tucker running for House Representative in district NY14 if you want a great example of a leader causing nightmares for people like you.

I get that you probably are a sensitive guy that got sucked in when people started heaping guilt on your head so you go out to heap guilt on others. Just ain't so and there are plenty of black leaders blowing up your silly statement.

Sweet dreams...
 

gophereric30

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How often does a coach offer critique of a players parents? You may think it is innocent, but the fact that he pointed it out as a ”compliment“ means it did not fit his expectations. It is very condescending.
You sure? I apologize. I didnt realize you were in that meeting too.
 

bga1

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How often does a coach offer critique of a players parents? You may think it is innocent, but the fact that he pointed it out as a ”compliment“ means it did not fit his expectations. It is very condescending.
I would be willing to bet that every coach after he sees every player's parents, tries to say something complimentary about those parents to the player. Good grief it's tough to get along these days with people.
 

oak_street1981

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How often does a coach offer critique of a players parents? You may think it is innocent, but the fact that he pointed it out as a ”compliment“ means it did not fit his expectations. It is very condescending.
Pat Chambers is from Philadelphia. Philly is a very tough place. Pat Chambers connects pretty well with a lot of the black players from Philly, which is why Penn State has had some good players recently.

Probably 90 percent of the parents that Chambers meets with are black, so I am not sure he was tailoring his message to Bolton's parents. Most coaches are not polished Coach K types, and a very well spoken parent might impress a run of the mill coach, and it may have been a sincere compliment.

The MOB is rolling though so none of this matters now.

I have met white people from Philly, and even the educated can be very rough, and not well spoken, but always direct, including a former boss. A lot of white people from PA in general are not very well spoken (there is a good micro-aggression, or at least a huge generalizatoni for you).

What Pat Chambers allegedly said to the parents may have been a BS "micro-aggression" in today's world, there may well have been no racial aspect to it at all. It might have been a Philly guy giving a complement, a real one.
 
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60's Guy

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From what I have read about Coach Chambers and the reactions from his black players tells me it was a poor choice of words to use the noose reference, but it was said innocently and at the same time ignorantly not connecting history.
But, I coached a long time....I spoke to lots of parents. 100% if some kids parents presented themselves as organized and articulate I'm telling the kid how lucky he was, black or white. Depends what school you are coaching at to a big degree. Private school with $8,000 tuition most parents are pretty articulate....and those kids are blessed and need to be aware and grateful for their situation in life. Because public school offers a pretty big contrast and usually only one parent. Like bga1 said I'm still looking as a coach for something to try and offer the kid some awareness he has positives at home in his life.
Depends on the kid, depends on their age but part of your job is helping kids deal with their parents.
Kids have lots of complaints about their parents. I always tried to restore the relationship by pointing out how much they were loved by their parents, they did X because of how much they cared etc.
Life is hard...black or white. Like bga1 said if I'm white first or Bolton is black first it's going to be hard to get along. We are people first. We are all the same. You have a problem with something I said talk to me about it. This was all just a misunderstanding with no bias or racism to any degree.
Built and his dad have the right idea.
 

alchemy2u

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I still disagree. What did the coach do? He admitted that he said it but blamed it on being from the North...., but he didn't apologize. His parents repeatedly tried to correct the situation and the coach just complimented them for being well spoken and organized... The team started to look at him as a trouble maker and an outsider. Why didn't the coach put an end to that and stop the division? A real leader keeps the team together, accepts responsibility for what happens and is not afraid to be humble in understanding problems that each member faces. How about restoring the relationship between the coach and this player or the relationship of the whole team. The coach has an ego that prevented him for apologizing and he let the situation ballooned out of control.

Some of you guys still need to get over your "we used to do it that way" approach. Just because people tolerated insults in the past doesn't mean that it was ever right to insult people.
 

Zeppelin Gopher

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Lamar Stevens has been all over Twitter today defending Pat Chambers.
 

60's Guy

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I still disagree. What did the coach do? He admitted that he said it but blamed it on being from the North...., but he didn't apologize. His parents repeatedly tried to correct the situation and the coach just complimented them for being well spoken and organized... The team started to look at him as a trouble maker and an outsider. Why didn't the coach put an end to that and stop the division? A real leader keeps the team together, accepts responsibility for what happens and is not afraid to be humble in understanding problems that each member faces. How about restoring the relationship between the coach and this player or the relationship of the whole team. The coach has an ego that prevented him for apologizing and he let the situation ballooned out of control.

Some of you guys still need to get over your "we used to do it that way" approach. Just because people tolerated insults in the past doesn't mean that it was ever right to insult people.
According to Lamar Stevens Coach Chambers discussed it often with the team following the incident.
Current players are echoing Stevens, so maybe some of this is twisted? Lot of players saying Chambers is a solid man.
Also, I do believe your timeline is a bit skewed.
If you have ever been a part of controversies of a similar nature you are probably aware the "victim" often has a different story than the team and coach. Race issues is only one of many that can divide teams. 100% you are correct it is up to the coach to fix it. Chambers did. Bolton left. Penn St had their best season in the Big Ten and would have done better if not for mono derailing their closing stretch. Iowa St finished near last place.
 

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Wow - it is disturbing to see the privilege so many people hold that they are simply blind to. It's so evident in the posts above that dismiss the experience of another person, rather than demonstrating an interest in having some empathy to see the world from another's experience.
 

bga1

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Wow - it is disturbing to see the privilege so many people hold that they are simply blind to. It's so evident in the posts above that dismiss the experience of another person, rather than demonstrating an interest in having some empathy to see the world from another's experience.
Empathy is different than understanding problem solving, Ozzy. One can have empathy for Mr Bolton or others who feel like him and still see that he is taking a wrong direction. Everyone gets it that it is tougher for a lot of reasons to grow up black. Some of those reasons involved past racism. Others are self inflicted by the black community (let's be honest here). OK, everyone has their sins. So now, how do we move forward?

Do we best move forward by looking to be offended at every turn or do we best move forward by turning the other cheek at times and deciding not to be offended? I will tell you that the person that is not easily offended, the person that leaves the negatives behind...gets farther in life.
If is my interest that the black community is able to rise. That rising will take place as jobs are held, free education is utilized to the maximum, the family structure is repaired and there is less criminal activity. We have to look forward, forgive and take advantage of what this great nation offers.

The greatest privilege I had in life was that my dearly departed mom and dad taught me morals, taught me to respect others, taught me to be honest and to move forward each day, leaving the past behind. They taught me to be personally accountable for what I did. They kept their family together and lived good, honest, not wealthy but great lives. That indeed is a privilege and it has not one thing to do with the color of my skin.

Oh by the way, thanks Mom and Dad!
 

Ozzy&Ray

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Empathy is different than understanding problem solving, Ozzy. One can have empathy for Mr Bolton or others who feel like him and still see that he is taking a wrong direction. Everyone gets it that it is tougher for a lot of reasons to grow up black. Some of those reasons involved past racism. Others are self inflicted by the black community (let's be honest here). OK, everyone has their sins. So now, how do we move forward?

Do we best move forward by looking to be offended at every turn or do we best move forward by turning the other cheek at times and deciding not to be offended? I will tell you that the person that is not easily offended, the person that leaves the negatives behind...gets farther in life.
If is my interest that the black community is able to rise. That rising will take place as jobs are held, free education is utilized to the maximum, the family structure is repaired and there is less criminal activity. We have to look forward, forgive and take advantage of what this great nation offers.

The greatest privilege I had in life was that my dearly departed mom and dad taught me morals, taught me to respect others, taught me to be honest and to move forward each day, leaving the past behind. They taught me to be personally accountable for what I did. They kept their family together and lived good, honest, not wealthy but great lives. That indeed is a privilege and it has not one thing to do with the color of my skin.

Oh by the way, thanks Mom and Dad!
And your response speaks volumes about your cultural blindness.
 

MplsGopher

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When a black player is told that his parents are "well spoken and organized" it expresses that this is somehow not the norm and the coach may have been surprised by this. The coach would most likely never think to say this to a white players parents. This is an example of a microaggression. While not overtly a racist act it assumes that black people aren't or shouldn't be well spoken. Similarly, comments about a noose to a black played just should not occur. These types of comments may not feel offensive to an old school white coach but hundreds of years of history with thousands of examples of a noose being used as a tool to lynch black men is most definitely a racially offensive comment. It seems as though the interactions with the coach and the lack of support from the school made Rasir Bolton feel unsupported and unsafe at Penn State. This type of systemic racism is what so many are currently fighting to change. My white privilege and that of the majority of the country allows us to see this as no big deal when in fact it is a very big deal. My hope is that athletic departments and schools will deal with these types of situations differently to protect students (not just student athletes) as we continue conversations about systemic racism that exists throughout our society.
Awesome post!!!!
 
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