Penn State Confiscates Football Players’ Shirts Supporting Teammate Who Received Racist Letter Because Of His Locs

IOWA CITY, IA. - OCTOBER 12: during a Big Ten Conference football game between the Penn State Nittany Lions and the Iowa Hawkeyes on October 12, 2019, at Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA. (Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire)

Penn State Confiscates Football Players’ Shirts Supporting Teammate Who Received Racist Letter Because Of His Locs

Jonathan Sutherland’s story went viral last week.

Published October 13th

Written by Paul Meara

A letter sent to Penn State football player Jonathan Sutherland by a white couple who chastised him for wearing shoulder-length dreadlocks went viral recently for its abhorrent racism. The conversation it caused though brought a lot of solidarity around the athlete.

On Saturday (October 12) during PSU football’s pregame warmups in anticipation for their game against Iowa, players wore shirts playing off the team’s rallying cry “We are. Penn State” reading “Chains, Tattoos, Dreads, & WE ARE.” 

The shirts didn’t remain on the field for long, though, as staff members at the stadium approached the players to confiscate them.

ESPN reports that coach James Franklin wasn’t pleased with the players who wore the shirts, claiming that he didn’t plan for it. He also felt the shirts were an unnecessary move because the concern had already been addressed within the past week.

Penn State has issued an official statement saying they were concerned with NCAA violations:

"While we are supportive of our students expressing themselves in a thoughtful manner, they are expected to wear team-issued apparel on game day. We asked our students to remove the shirts out of an abundance of caution for NCAA compliance,” the statement reads.

While Franklin doesn’t support Sutherland’s teammates wearing the statement t-shirts, he has been supportive of Sutherland. The head coach held a press conference on Tuesday (October 8) responding to the racist letter and in support of the safety, calling the redshirt junior “the ultimate example of what our program is all about.”

If you missed reading the letter Jonathan Sutherland received, you can read it below.

Photo: Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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