As Penn State prepares to take on Iowa this evening under the lights on ABC, a letter sent to safety and co-captain Jonathan Sutherland continues to dominate the news.
The letter, which was made public earlier this week by Sutherland’s teammate Antonio Shelton, was written by a 1966 Penn State graduate who had problems with Sutherland’s dreadlocks, writing they “look disgusting” and “are certainly not attractive.”
“It wasn’t threatening or anything," David Petersen told the Tribune-Democrat, defending his decision to write the letter to Sutherland. “I was just disgruntled about some of the hairdos that we’re seeing. You think of Penn State as a bunch of clean-cut guys. And you do see so many who are clean cut. But the tattoos and the hair — there are a lot of guys with hair coming down their backs and it just looks awful.”
Not surprisingly, the response to the letter has been a near-universal backing of Sutherland and his hairstyle. Head coach James Franklin got emotional speaking about Sutherland with reporters earlier this week, praising him for his leadership, academics, and commitment to success.
“He’s a captain,” Franklin said. “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.”
Mason Young, an 8-year-old Penn State fan, was among the many supporters of Sutherland. Young felt so strongly about the criticism, he drew a card that his father mailed to the young defender the day after the criticism went viral.
“That hair is amazing! WOWEE! I wish I had that!” Young’s card read. “I believe it is magical and makes you hit harder!”
Here’s everything you need to know to watch and stream Penn State’s game:
When: Saturday, Oct. 12
Where: Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, Iowa
Time: 7:30 p.m.
TV: ABC (Sean McDonough, Todd Blackledge, Holly Rowe)
Radio: 1210 WPHT via the Penn State Sports Network (Steve Jones, Jack Ham)
Streaming: Watch ABC app (requires cable authentication), fuboTV (free 7-day trial), Playstation Vue, Hulu with Live TV, DirecTV Now, YouTube TV, Sling TV (all require a subscription)
ABC’s coverage will begin following the end of the Florida State-Clemson game. College Football Scoreboard, hosted by Kevin Negandhi, Jonathan Vilma, and Mark Sanchez, will air prior to the start of Penn State’s game.