James Franklin showed up to his press conference Tuesday afternoon wearing an “I voted” sticker, noting that he had voted very early in the day.
The Penn State football team has been part of an ongoing campaign to encourage people to vote. Also, Tuesday was civic engagement day across college sports, with Division I athletes not taking part in any sports activities, as part of a new rule instated this year.
Franklin was asked why voting is important to him and the football program, as well as his thoughts on the civic engagement day. Following is the coach’s lengthy response.
“I think, first of all, that we all have a duty and a responsibility to be active in what’s going on in our in our democracy and in our country. It’s a right that that we have fought for, it’s a right that we have earned. It’s something that that some people and some countries would love to have. And I think maybe for a period of time that we took some of those rights for granted.
“I also think there’s probably an aspect where there’s a lot of people that have had opinions on what should be going on in our country, but really had not used their voice. “So, been a lot of emphasis over the last couple years and specifically this past year to say, OK, if you want to have a voice, if you want to have opinion, it starts with going and getting involved in and taking advantage of your rights.
“So that’s something that I think you see in professional sports, and it trickled down to college sports, as well. And then when the NCAA and the Big 10, a lot of these conferences, made some decisions like making this an off day from from competition in practice, then I think it magnified it. Even more, it led to great discussions and dialogue. Obviously some of the challenges that that are going on in our country and in our world probably magnified it, as well.
“So for us we wanted to educate our guys. We wanted to create opportunities for them to be be engaged. And then, I’m pretty confident that the most of our staff and most of our team went out and voted this morning. I was fortunate to get there early and be able to get in and out before it got busy. … Guys, I think, have been been very active, and I’m proud. I’m proud of the the approach that the Big 10 has taken with this, as well.”
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