FRISCO - Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, not only emerging as a leader of his team but also as a vocal leader in his community, has written a letter to Oklahoma governor Kevin Stitt and the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board citing "a specific miscarriage of justice'' in the case of death-row inmate Julius Jones.
“As a black man in this country right now,” Prescott writes in a letter obtained exclusively by TIME magazine, "I experience injustices firsthand day in and day out, even as an athlete with ‘celebrity status' ...
"Current events are shining a much-needed light on deep-seated prejudices and systemic mistreatment of black people, and it is my sincere hope that the cultural movements of today will lead to significant social changes that will create a better tomorrow. To that end, you all are in the unique position of being able to make a direct impact by addressing a specific miscarriage of justice.”
The letter, which TIME reports was sent to the governor’s office and parole board on August 6, advocates for the release of Jones, a black man who was sentenced to death for the 1999 murder of Paul Howell, a white businessman from Edmond.
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The Julius Jones case has received widespread attention. A Viola Davis-produced docu-series that aired on ABC in 2018, The Last Defense, covered it in-depth, while the Julius Jones Coalition has helped draw more than 6 million signatures to a Change.org petition calling for Jones, who earned an academic scholarship to Oklahoma University before his conviction, to be freed. High-profile athletes with ties to Oklahoma, like former OU basketball stars Blake Griffin of the Detroit Pistons and Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks, as well as Buddy Hield of the Sacramento Kings, ex-Oklahoma City Thunder standout Russell Westbrook, and Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield have written letters to state officials on Jones’ behalf.
Prescott, 27, made news this offseason when, reflecting on the murder of George Floyd, he announced a $1 million pledge "to improve our police training and address systemic racism throughout education and advocacy in our country.''