Lions safety Tracy Walker says that he watched the death of his cousin on video, Ahmaud Arbery, more than 100 times, and is “pissed off.”
Arbery, a 25-year-old man who was killed by Gregory and Travis McMichael in Georgia last February, was Walker’s second cousin. The incident gained national attention this month when video of the shooting appeared on social media.
Walker says that the video of the shooting makes little sense to him.
“Man, he did not deserve that,” Walker told ESPN. “He did not deserve that. And, you know, God has a plan for everybody, man, but, you know, it’s tough. It is. That’s why I watched it so many times. I couldn’t grasp it. It’s such a gruesome video. You want to know why.
“He was a beautiful soul,” Walker added about Arbery. “He wasn’t a hateful person. He was not. I can’t name one person he had a beef with growing up. Everybody loved Ahmaud because he was just a clown, a funny guy.”
Walker also said that in his last conversation with Arbery at a family gathering, the man said he was proud of Walker’s NFL success.
“It gives me mixed emotions, and the reason why I say that is because it’s sad because that’s the last memory I have of him, but it’s a good memory because he was applauding me and was telling me to keep moving forward and keep doing me, you know what I’m saying,” Walker said. “Keep balling out on that field.
“He was basically giving me motivation and pushing me forward to continue being the best person I could possibly be,” Walker concluded.
Arbery played football with Walker in high school, and the Lions player has pledged to write his cousin’s initials on his cleats and will wear a t-shirt in memory of Arbery under his jersey once the NFL returns to the field.
Walker is not the only member of the NFL incensed by the Arbery’s shooting. Last week, a long list of NFL players, including Tom Brady, signed a letter urging the Department of Justice to become involved in the case against the two men now charged with killing Arbery.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Facebook at: facebook.com/Warner.Todd.Huston.