Chavous: Franklin Shouldn't Have To Defend Player

A Penn State fan wrote a letter to team captain Jonathan Sutherland, requesting that he cut his "awful" and "disgusting" dreadlocks

The DA Show
October 09, 2019 - 11:53 am
James Franklin Penn State

USA Today Images


James Franklin defended Jonathan Sutherland, and his hair, after the Penn State safety received a letter from a fan critiquing his dreadlocks. The fan wrote that Sutherland’s hair is “awful” and “disgusting” that he needs to cut it because he represents Penn State.

Franklin found the letter, well, ridiculous, saying Sutherland is one of the most respected players in the program and that he, Franklin, would want his daughters to marry someone with his character and integrity.

“I think the big thing for me is wondering what would happen if the kid wasn’t a dean’s list student, if he wasn’t a team captain,” CBS Sports Network’s Corey Chavous said on The DA Show. “I don’t know that you should even have to defend that if you’re James Franklin. . . . I’m pretty close to the Penn State program, and I appreciate the comments that he made. I think that he was defending the kid unnecessarily in this situation.”

Many critics found the letter, which yearned for the old days, to be racially charged.

“At the end of the day, that’s the type of kid James Franklin recruits,” Chavous said. “I think that there’s a certain expectation you should have as a coach. I think when you make a statement like that, you’re taking about the program, particularly if you’re an alum. So really, it just comes down to believing in the people that are in place, believing in who they’re recruiting, believing in their character, believing in their parents, believing in who you’re trying to build as a football team and what they’re tying to build. 

“From my experience around the Penn State program, I think they have a lot of very good student-athletes and all those guys have represented the school very well,” Chavous continued. “So I don’t think it’s as much about the fans as much as it is about the fans getting the knowledge of learning, okay, this is who they’re recruiting on a consistent basis. Maybe that’s what James was trying to do: expose that fan to the types of guys they’re recruiting.”

No. 10 Penn State (5-0) plays No. 17 Iowa (4-1) on the road this Saturday. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. ET.