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

Sporting News

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.

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MORE: Penn State fan stands by letter, Jonathan Franklin responds

Video also showed a Penn State staffer carrying the shirts off the field.

During the game, Penn State issued a statement stating the shirts were removed "out of an abundance of caution for NCAA compliance."

ESPN reported coach James Franklin was unhappy the players didn't discuss their plans with him beforehand.

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 also responded to the letter earlier in the week, calling it "rude, ignorant and judging," though it's unclear whether he participated in the pregame gesture.

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