Tracy Walker became more “pissed off” each time he watched the video that surfaced months after his cousin Ahmaud Arbery was shot and killed.
Walker, a 25-year-old, third-year safety for the Lions, told ESPN he watched the video of the killing “no exaggeration, over 100 times.”
“Man, he did not deserve that,” Walker said. “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.”
Walker told ESPN he was close with Arbery, who was a year older and who played football with him at Brunswick High School before Walker went on to play at Louisiana-Lafayette and eventually in the NFL.
Arbery was killed Feb. 23 in Brunswick, Ga., while jogging. The appearance of the video led to the arrests of Gregory and Travis McMichael. Both were charged with murder and aggravated assault, and federal officials reportedly are weighing the possibility of hate-crime charges against them.
“We want justice for Ahmaud,” Walker said. “We want the proper justice.”
The Players Coalition on Friday sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General William Barr and FBI director Christopher Wray requesting an investigation into Arbery’s death.
Today should’ve been Ahmaud Arbery’s 26th birthday. Instead, our nation is mourning. Because of the local conflict of interest, @playercoalition, other athletes, and I are urging Attorney General Barr, to have the FBI and the DOJ investigate this tragic death. We need action. pic.twitter.com/2qG8lih6A4
— Anquan Boldin (@AnquanBoldin) May 8, 2020
“He was a beautiful soul,” Walker said. “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 said he will wear his cousin’s old T-shirts under his jersey this season and will write Arbery’s initials on his cleats.
The NFL is hoping to start the season on time in September despite coronavirus-related challenges that could alter the schedule.