IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Penn State players were asked by team staff to remove T-shirts reading “Chains, Tattoos, Dreads, & WE ARE” before their game Saturday at No. 17 Iowa. The handful of Nittany Lions who displayed the shirts in pregame warmups was responding to a letter that safety Jonathan Sutherland received last week from a fan criticizing his dreadlocks.

“While we are supportive of our students expressing themselves in a thoughtful manner, they are expected to wear team-issued apparel on game day. We asked our students to remove the shirts out of an abundance of caution for NCAA compliance,” Penn State athletic said in a statement.

Penn State coach James Franklin opened his weekly press conference on Tuesday with a passionate defense of Sutherland, praising him as “the ultimate example of what our program is all about.”

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