India Arie in her 2006 song titled, ‘I am not my hair’ talks about black people’s hair saying they can wear their hair whatever way it pleases them so long as they feel good in it.
Well, an alumnus of Penn State University would rather have the school’s African American star football player and team captain take off his “disgusting “and “ugly” dreadlocks in a letter addressed to him from the white couple, Mcall reports.
The letter addressed to Jonathan Sutherland who wears his hair in an over the shoulder dreadlocks was posted on Twitter by one of his teammates. Anthony Shelton posted the picture with the caption, “One of my teammates got this. Explain to me how this isn’t racist.”
During the home opener game against the University of Idaho, the letter’s author, Dave Peterson claims as “proud older graduates of Penn State”, they couldn’t help noticing his “awful hair” because his “shoulder length dreadlocks look disgusting and certainly not attractive.”
The tweet got the attention of Penn State school. The school replied to it, saying, “while we don’t know the source of this letter or the authenticity, obviously its content does not align with our values. We strongly condemn this message or any message of intolerance.”
However, Peterson speaking with The Tribune-Democrat confirmed writing the letter. He was a 1966 Penn State graduate from Johnstown.
In his defense, he said to the newspaper that his letter “wasn’t threatening or anything”, adding he was “just disgruntled about some of the hairdos that we’re seeing.”
Peterson’s infamous letter further reads, “Though the athletes of today are certainly superior to those in my days; we miss the clean-cut young men and women from those days.”
“Watching the Idaho game on TV we couldn’t help but notice your — well— awful hair. Surely there must be mirrors in the locker room! Don’t you have parents or girlfriend who’ve told you those shoulder length dreadlocks look disgusting and are certainly not attractive.”
Sutherland the player in question in a Twitter post also forgave the couple for their utterances.
He was willing to let go the issue 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.”
“Although the message was indeed 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,” Sutherland wrote.
James Franklin, head football coach at Penn State, also condemned the letter in a statement at his weekly morning press conference.
He described Sutherland as “one of the most respected players in our program.” A redshirt junior, Sutherland is majoring in labor and employment relations and made the Dean’s list in 2018. An Ottawa, Ontario, native, Sutherland was voted a captain this season.
“He’s confident, he’s articulate, he’s intelligent, he’s thoughtful, he’s caring, and he’s committed,” Franklin said. “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.”
According to Mcall, other teammates also added their voice. Penn State defensive end Shaka Toney said Tuesday that the team “can’t put energy into negative things.”
“People are going to look different; people are going to sound different; people are going to dress different,” Toney said. “It shouldn’t be a concern.”