COACH FRANKLIN FROM PENN STATE TAKES UP FOR HIS PLAYERS NO MATTER WHAT
Penn State football coach James Franklin read a heartfelt statement Tuesday in defense of his team and one of his players who has dreadlocks in a letter from a person describing himself as “a proud ‘older’ graduate of Penn State.”
Franklin opened his weekly media conference with the two-minute statement in response to the letter sent to safety and co-captain Jonathan Sutherland. The letter was made public on Twitter and touched off a firestorm of criticism, by Sutherland’s teammates.
Sutherland, a redshirt sophomore from Ottawa, said that while the letter was “indeed rude, ignorant and judging, I’ve taken no personal offense to it” and that he forgave the writer.
The Johnstown Tribune-Democrat identified the letter writer as David Petersen, of Johnstown, a 1966 Penn State graduate. Petersen said the racial statement “was not the intent at all. I would just like to see the coaches get the guys cleaned up and not looking like Florida State and Miami guys.”
The picture of the letter attracted nearly 14,000 retweets and more than 46,000 likes as of Tuesday afternoon. In it, Petersen lamented the loss of “the clean-cut young men and women” from “my days,” and then went on to criticize Sutherland’s hair.