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Penn State Football: Watch And Read James Franklin Opening Statement Following Letter Sent To Player

by on October 08, 2019 1:00 PM

Related: Letter To Penn State Player A Reminder Of Our Larger Duty

Several Penn State football players posted a letter on social media Monday night written by someone who claims to be a university alumnus. Within the letter the author mentions the dislike he and his wife have for safety Jonathan Sutherland’s long dreadlocks, which the letter writer calls "awful," "disgusting and certainly not attractive."

The author — who also wrote that he stopped watching the NFL "due to the disgusting tattoos, awful hair and immature antics in the end zone" — concludes that Sutherland should cut his hair, in turn restoring Penn State football back to the days of stringent dress codes and short hair.

“We congratulate you on your game against Pitt but you need to remember that you represent all Penn Staters both current and those alumni from years past,” the letter states.

James Franklin opened his Tuesday press conference with the following statement in response to the letter.

You can watch it here, or read the text below. 

Would like to kind of open up with a statement, something that I was thinking about laying in bed last night that I put together that I wanted to put out there.

You know that the football that I know and love brings people together and embraces differences black, white, brown, Catholic, Jewish or Muslim. Rich or poor, rural or urban, Republican or Democrat. Long hair, short hair, no hair.

They're all in that locker room together. Teams all over this country are the purest form of humanity that we have. We don't judge. We embrace differences. We live. We learn we grow. We support and we defend each other. We're a family. Penn State football, Penn State University, Happy Valley provide the same opportunities to embrace one another 12 Saturdays each fall. PSU football brings people together like very few things on this planet. One hundred and ten thousand fans from all different backgrounds throughout our region from all different parts of the state. 

And they're hugging and high-fiving me and singing Sweet Caroline together.

This is my football. This is the game that I love and most importantly my players that I love and will defend like sons. Ultimately this is the definition and embodiment of what we are is all about.

Lastly Jonathan Sutherland is one of the most respected players in our program. He's the ultimate example of what our program is all about. He's a captain. He's a dean's list honor student. He's confident, he's articulate, he's intelligent, he's thoughtful, he's caring and he's committed to the most supportive parents. And I would be so blessed if my daughters married someone similar with his character and traits.

Now back to Iowa. Iowa Iowa Iowa Iowa Iowa.

Penn State faces Iowa this Saturday at 7:30 eastern.

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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