Penn State Media Day

Penn State head football coach, James Franklin, shields his eyes from the lights while listening to a reporters question during media day on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019.

After a Penn State player received a letter from a fan criticizing his "awful" dreadlocks, Nittany Lions coach James Franklin opened his weekly news conference by talking about how football teams bring people together.

The letter was sent to Penn State safety Jonathan Sutherland and it gained attention after his teammates posted it on social media Monday night. The person, a Penn State graduate, acknowledged writing the letter in an interview with The Tribune-Democrat on Tuesday. The letter said Sutherland's shoulder-length dreadlocks looked "disgusting."

Franklin addressed the letter indirectly. He said, "The football that I know and love brings people together and embraces differences." The coach complimented Sutherland for being "the ultimate example of what our program's about."

Sutherland posted on Twitter that the message was "ignorant," but said he forgave the sender without an apology necessary.

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