Sutherland, coach Franklin respond to a personal attack on a player and the Nittany Lions program
If you have not read the narrow, short-sighted and shallow letter penned by Penn State alum Dave Petersen and sent to Nittany Lions junior safety Jonathan Sutherland, do yourself a favor and go find it online and give a read.
Mr. Petersen has a right to his opinion. But this was personal and he made Sutherland the target of his frustration. That is where Mr. Peterson, who publicly gave an interview about the letter, was wrong on so many levels.
So how you respond in the face of adversity they say is what matters most. It’s revealing on so many levels.
This is what Sutherland had to say about the letter and what Penn State head football coach James Franklin’s message was.
“Yesterday I received a letter by an alumni from the Pennsylvania State University who felt the need to share his degrading opinions in regards to my hair and what is stands for,” Sutherland wrote and posted to his Twitter account. “Although the message was rude, ignorant and judging, I’ve taken no personal offense to it because personally, I must respect you as a person before I respect your opinion.
“At the end of the day, without an apology needed, I forgive this individual because I’m nowhere close to being perfect and I expect God to forgive me for all the wrong I’ve done in my life. Colossians 3:13 states, ‘Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.’”
“I appreciate everyone who has reached out to me and showed their support. Let this be one of the many examples to us that in the year 2019, people of different cultures, religions and ethnicities are still being discriminated against and it needs to stop.”
“Don’t be scared to be different!”
And this was Franklin’s opening statement from his weekly Tuesday press conference.
“I would like to open up with a statement. Something that I was thinking about laying in my bed last night that I put together that I wanted to put out there.”
“The football that I know and love brings people together, and embraces differences. Black, White, brown, Catholic, Jewish or Muslim, rich or poor, rural or urban, Republican or Democrat, long hair, short hair, no hair. They are all in that locker room together. Teams all over this country are the purest form of humanity that we have. We don’t judge. We embrace differences. We live, we learn, we grow, we support and we defend each other. We’re a family.
“Penn State Football, Penn State University, and Happy Valley provide the same opportunities to embrace one another 12 Saturdays each fall. PSU Football brings people together like very few things on this planet. 110,000 fans from all different backgrounds throughout our region, from all different parts of the state; and they are hugging and high-fiving and singing Sweet Caroline together.”
“This is my football. This is the game that I love and most importantly, my players that I love and will defend like sons. Ultimately this is the definition and embodiment of what we are all about.”
“Lastly, Jonathan Sutherland is one of the most respected players in our program. He’s the ultimate example of what our program is all about. He’s a captain. He’s a Dean’s List honor student. He’s confident. He’s articulate. He’s intelligent. He’s thoughtful. He’s caring and he’s committed. He’s got two of the most supportive parents and I would be so blessed if my daughters would marry someone with his character and integrity one day.”
More on Iowa, Iowa, Iowa later in the week.