James Franklin ‘Pleading’ With Penn State Fans To Get Vaccinated
James Franklin wants there to be #107kStrong in Beaver Stadium this fall, and at Saturday’s Penn State football media day, he shared his thoughts on what fans need to do to make that happen.
“This is not a political statement,” Franklin said. “The more people that can get vaccination, whether you completely agree with it or not…That gives us the best opportunity to be in that stadium and as close back to what we would describe as normal as possible.
“Last year was not a true Penn State experience. So I am asking and pleading for everybody to do everything they can to help us get back to how we would describe normal,” Franklin added.
The head coach went on to explain how much a full Beaver Stadium and State College tailgate experience means to the community, local businesses, and the state as a whole. In order for that full rebound to occur, however, he’s pushing for Penn Staters to “make some sacrifices” and get the COVID-19 vaccine.
“We want everybody to have an unbelievable experience and we want to get back to sold-out Beaver Stadiums come our first opportunity,” Franklin said. “Our fourth core value is sacrifice, and if that means we all have to give a little something up to do that, I would hope for us to be able to get back together in there for a family reunion.”
Franklin went on to note his own experience with COVID-19. It was well-documented that the head coach was forced to spend several months away from his family during the 2020 season, as his younger daughter, Addison, has sickle cell anemia and is immunocompromised.
He explained Saturday that his daughter is currently in the hospital, but according to Mark Brennan of Lions247, it’s for precautionary reasons.
Franklin didn’t touch on the team’s vaccination status Saturday afternoon, but at Big Ten media day just over two weeks ago, the head coach said more than 70% of the team has been vaccinated. He added that he “won’t be happy” until that number is 100%.
With the season now less than a month away, Penn State is planning to welcome a full-capacity crowd to Beaver Stadium. The Nittany Lions won’t play in front of them home crowd until September 11 against Ball State, however, as they’ll open the season at Camp Randall Stadium on September 4 against Wisconsin.
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Nittany Lions old and new have received new jersey numbers ahead of the 2022 season.