Men’s basketball Head Coach Steve Prohm urges student-athletes to use their platform for issues they want to speak on

Head Coach Steve Prohm speaks at men’s basketball media day Oct. 16. 

Sam Stuve

Iowa State men’s basketball Head Coach Steve Prohm told the media Monday afternoon that athletes should use their platform for issues they want to speak on.

Prohm said Monday he believes this country needs some change and student-athletes speaking out is a way of achieving that.

“There is a much-needed change in our country,” Prohm said. “These people speaking up are our future and I think it’s great. I want my players to feel like they have a platform to talk.”

Earlier on Monday, junior guard Rasir Bolton had spoken about his negative experiences with Penn State Head Coach Pat Chambers while he played for him in the 2018-19 season.

On Monday, Bolton said in January 2019, Chambers, in talking to him, referenced a “noose” around his neck.

Prohm said Bolton felt he was compelled to tell his story. He said he was aware of the situation at Penn State when he was recruiting Bolton to Iowa State, but kept it internal after talking to Bolton and the NCAA’s waiver process.

Chambers responded to Bolton’s claim with this tweet.

Part of the reason Bolton came out with the statement on Monday is because of the advocation for social change many people have called for since the death of George Floyd in May and because of an article from The Undefeated.

The article from The Undefeated talks about a 2019 game between Wisconsin and Penn State, where Chambers said to Bolton after the game, “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 of you…I want to loosen the noose around your neck.”

Chambers said in the article “I didn’t realize that word would hurt him, and I am truly, truly sorry for that.”

After Prohm knew the article was going to be released Monday, he said he reached out to Bolton and his family to see how they were doing.

Prohm now encourages student-athletes to use their platform to promote things they want to see changed.

After the death of Floyd, many people have been protesting in the streets nationwide.

Prohm said some players such as Bolton, George Conditt and Nate Jenkins and some staff members were out peacefully protesting.

There are no plans for the team to have any in-season demonstrations.

The team has had Zoom calls where they talked about what is going on in the world, according to Prohm.

“It’s not about today, it’s not about next week, it’s not about November, it’s about change further down the road,” Prohm said.

Prohm said the team met immediately after the death of Floyd and had discussions with speakers about what was going on, but that has now shifted to players talking openly about their feelings about his death and the protests.

On June 14, the Big 12 Conference announced that the Conference would make the day of Nov. 3 a day off to encourage their players “to register and exercise their right to vote.”

According to Prohm, the NCAA “kind of” encouraged the Big 12 to do this.

“I think we’ve [the Big 12] done a great job of collaborating with one another since the major push of change started in May with the death of George Floyd,” Prohm said.