‘Chains, tattoos and dreads’: Penn State players respond to fan letter with warmup shirt

Penn State players on Sataurday donned T-shirts responding to a racially insensitive letter sent to Nittany Lions safety Jonathan Sutherland this week.

The shirts read, “Chains, Tattoos, Dreads & WE ARE” — a direct response to the letter, which called Sutherland’s dreadlocks “awful.” The shirts appeared to be produced by State College bar Champs Sports Grill. Audrey Snyder of The Athletic shared a photo of safety Lamont Wade wearing the shirt during warmups before the Nittany Lions faced Iowa in Iowa City.

Video also showed a Penn State staffer carrying the shirts off the field, seeming to suggest this was not a team-sanctioned move.

Coach James Franklin had previously spoken out against the letter in support of his players.

“The football that I know and love brings people together and embraces differences,” Franklin said. “Black, white, brown, Catholic, Jewish or Muslim, rich or poor, rural or urban, Republican or Democrat, long hair, short hair or no hair. They’re all in that locker room together.”

Sutherland — one of Penn State’s leaders and most outspoken players — also responded to the letter, calling it “rude, ignorant and judging.”

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