Jonathan Sutherland, a Penn State safety, received a completely disrespectful letter from a Nittany Lions fan. The fan noted Sutherland’s “awful hair” in the letter and alluded to the need for PSU players to be clean-cut.
Several of Sutherland’s teammates posted an image of the letter on Twitter with captions citing racism. You can find the rest of the details to that story here.
Since then, Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour and head coach James Franklin have each addressed the matter. Both expressed their immense, unconditional support for Sutherland and all other Penn State athletes.
I stand with our Penn State student athletes and appreciate how they represent PSU in competition, in the classroom and in the community. Their dress, tattoos, or hairstyle has no impact on my support, nor does their gender, skin color, sexuality or religion! #WeAre #ONETEAM🦁
— Sandy Barbour (@SandyB_PSUAD) October 8, 2019
James Franklin with an important and emotional message regarding a fan’s racist letter sent to PSU safety Jonathan Sutherland. pic.twitter.com/z2TFlWKs3m
— Audrey Snyder (@audsnyder4) October 8, 2019
The outpouring of support from Barbour, Franklin, PSU players and many fans is touching. Especially considering how out-of-line the fan and his letter is.
“Jonathan Sutherland is one of the most respected players in our program,” Franklin said in a press conference on Monday morning. “He’s our ultimate example of what our program’s 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.”
One thing’s for sure — Franklin is completely supportive of Sutherland.
Hopefully, Penn State will take appropriate action with the fan who sent the letter.
Stay tuned for further updates on this developing story.