James Franklin responds to 'racist' fan letter

Angry Penn State fan sends nasty letter telling Jonathan Sutherland to cut his dreadlocks

Franklin didn't mention the letter itself but did say the football he loves brings people together.

One Penn State University fan went out his way to send a letter to a star football player, calling his dreadlocks "disgusting" and "not attractive".

Sutherland's teammates, including defensive lineman Antonio Shelton, made the letter public through social media, and it has since gone viral. The author writes, "Though the athletes of today are certainly superior to those in my days, we miss the clean-cut young men and women from those days".

"Watching the Idaho game on TV we couldn't help but notice your - well - bad hair", Petersen wrote. They're all in that locker room together. "Don't you have parents or a girlfriend who have told you those shoulder-length dreadlocks look disgusting and are certainly not attractive?" he wrote.

"It embraces differences, black, white, brown, Catholic, Jewish or Muslim". One hundred ten thousand fans from all different background throughout our region from all different parts of the state, and they're hugging and high-fiving and singing "Sweet Caroline" together.

"It's not like we stick our head in the sand about what's going on in the country and that we don't have an awareness of what's going on in our community or on campus". We live. We learn, we grow.

"We congratulate you on your game against Pitt but you need to remember you represent all Penn Staters both current and those alumni from years past".

Nittany Lion players and Athletic Director Sandy Barbour were among the vast number of people speaking out about the letter on social media, as well.

Nittany Lions teammate CJ Holmes posted it on Twitter on Monday, writing: "I also have dreadlocks, tattoos and National Football League dreams, these messages can not be tolerated". "At the end of the day, without an apology needed, I forgive this individual because I'm nowhere close to being flawless".

Petersen did not return a phone message from the Mirror seeking comment Tuesday.

The letter started off with the writer saying he and his wife are "older" graduates of Penn State and they follow numerous university's sports.

"I would just like to see the coaches get the guys cleaned up and not looking like Florida State and Miami guys", he said.

An American news outlet, Tribune-Democrat, spoke with Petersen about the letter. "I was just disgruntled about some of the hairdos that we're seeing", he added, according to the Tribune-Democrat.

Ralph Bolden #23 of the Purdue Boilermakers carries the ball against the Penn State Nittany Lions during the game on October 15, 2011 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania.

"I want everybody who is a letterman to make sure you don't stand for things like that".

You will certainly be playing "on Sunday" in the future but we have stopped watching the National Football League due to the disgusting tattoos, very bad hair and immature antics in the end zone.

Franklin heavily praised Sutherland during his news conference Tuesday.

"He's the ultimate example of what our program is all about", Franklin explained.

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