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Penn State player tweets 'racist' letter sent to teammate about 'disgusting' dreadlocks

09 October 2019

Penn State football players were understandably upset Monday after safety Jonathan Sutherland received a racist letter from an alumnus that complained about the sophomore's "disgusting" dreadlocks and tattoos.

The letter was signed by Dave Petersen, who identified himself and his wife as "older" graduates of the school who were upset by Sutherland's hair.

The author said he was a fan, but "couldn't help but notice your very bad hair. those shoulder-length dreadlocks look disgusting".

Today's Penn State football news headlines feature high praise for the Lions defense and Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz's thoughts on Penn State's program.

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He said Sutherland was chosen to be a team captain, made the dean's list, had great parents, and was one of the most respected members of the program.

"Although the message was indeed rude, ignorant, and judging, I've taken no personal offense to it because personally, I must respect (him) as a person before I respect your opinion", Sutherland wrote in a statement posted onto his Twitter account. He's got two of the most supportive parents, and I would be so blessed if one of my daughters married someone with his character and integrity one day. We grow. We support and we defend each other. "We have stopped watching the National Football League due to the disgusting tattoos, bad hair and immature antics". "I was just disgruntled about some of the hairdos that we're seeing", Petersen said.

Dotson helped break the game open early, finding the hole in the Boilermakers' zone over the middle, dodging tacklers and keeping his speed to the sideline, where his fellow receivers cleared the way for a 72-yard touchdown, Penn State's longest passing play of the season.

The Penn State fan who sparked a social media storm over a letter he wrote about a Nittany Lions player's looks has explained his comments were not racial. "We're just going to move on from this". "When you see them and they are walking around campus, hit them with the Iowa, Iowa, Iowa". We don't judge. We embrace differences. Then he calls Sutherland's hair "awful" and said the dreadlocks look "disgusting" and "not attractive".

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Soon after Shelton posted the letter, Penn State officials responded, via Twitter: "While we don't know the source of this letter or the authenticity, obviously its content does not align with our values. And it's the same for the National Football League and NBA, too". It was a despicable message that needed to be condemned. We're a family. Penn State football, Penn State University, Happy Valley provide the same opportunities to embrace one another 12 Saturdays each fall. This is the game that I love and most importantly my players that I love and will defend like sons. "Their dress, tattoos, or hairstyle has no impact on my support, nor does their gender, skin color, sexuality or religion!"

Sutherland is a junior from Ottawa, Canada, who was redshirted as a freshman.

Sutherland released his own statement Tuesday.

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Penn State player tweets 'racist' letter sent to teammate about 'disgusting' dreadlocks