Penn State football players, coaches and the community are rallying to support Jonathan Sutherland after the star safety got a letter criticizing him for the long dreadlocks he says are part of his identity.
Sutherland’s teammate, defensive tackle Antonio Shelton, posted a photograph of the letter on Twitter on Monday and asked for someone to “explain to me how this isn’t racist.”
The letter writer claimed that he and his wife were “proud ‘older’ graduates of Penn state.”
The man wrote that he couldn’t help noticing Sutherland’s “awful hair” during the home opener against the University of Idaho.
Sutherland had three tackles and blocked two punts in the Nittany Lions’ 79-7 win, but the letter focused on insulting his appearance. Penn State is now 5-0 and ranked Number 10 in The Associated Press Top 25.
The man said he missed “the clean cut men and women,” who were athletes in his day and wished for a return of athlete dress codes.
Sutherland said he forgave the letter writer on Tuesday in a Twitter post and thanked fans for their support.