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Texans’ CJ Stroud talks prison reform amid dad’s incarceration: ‘Criminal justice system is corrupt’


Houston Texans rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud had an incredible Sunday as he led the team to a victory in the final seconds against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

But the win and setting the rookie record for most passing yards in a single game wasn’t the only thing on his mind when he came to the podium to talk to reporters.

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CJ Stroud reacts

Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud reacts after scoring on a 2-point conversion against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023, in Houston.  (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

Stroud took the opportunity to talk about his father, Coleridge Bernard Stroud III, who remains incarcerated after receiving a 38 years to life sentence after pleading guilty in 2016 to carjacking, kidnapping and robbery charges in a drug-related incident.

“What I’ve been battling with is trying to still be a family man, still help out, and still be a football player and do my job,” Stroud said. “It’s been tough.”

Stroud, who has been open about his faith in the past, has relied on a strong support system with his family and friends even through his father may not see him play. He said he was praying his father could catch a break and get to NRG Stadium one day to see him play.

EAGLES CLAIM GEORGE NORCROSS WAS REMOVED FROM GAME AFTER BEING ‘PHYSICALLY AND VERBALLY ABUSIVE’ TOWARD STAFF

CJ Stroud talks to reporters

Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud speaks to the media after the team’s win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023, in Houston.  (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

Coleridge Stroud III has been in prison since the quarterback was in middle school and is currently serving time at Folsom State Prison near Sacramento. He said, initially, he wasn’t sure if he wanted to speak out publicly but was moved to support his father and others in prison.

“Our criminal justice system isn’t right, and it’s something that I need to probably be a little more vocal about, because what he’s going through is not right,” C.J. Stroud said. “He called me this week, and we got to talk, and I’m praying for the situation and a reform, and the people with reform are helping me a little bit. 

“But, I think just letting it be known that it’s not just my dad’s situation, but the whole criminal justice system is corrupt.”

The quarterback said he was also upset by videos he’s seen of squalid conditions at prisons in Mississippi.

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Devin White tackles CJ Stroud

Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) attempts a pass while being hit by Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Devin White during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023, in Houston.  (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

“Some of the prisons there have rats, roaches and things like that,” he said. “Don’t get me wrong — criminals, they should do their time, but they’re still humans, know what I mean? I just want to shine a light on that really quick.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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