Ahmaud Arbery

ALLEN PARK -- Detroit Lions safety Tracy Walker expressed an unimaginable sense of relief, saying it was a great day when the three men who killed his cousin Ahmaud Arbery were convicted of murder.

Walker has never been shy discussing this issue, and he’s not about to stop sharing Arbery’s story just because a verdict has been delivered. He played high school football with Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia, and said the two were second cousins.

He told reporters he hoped Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael and William Bryan would get locked up and lose the chance to see the time of day while the court proceeded with the case and reiterated he believes each man got what they deserved. The three men were said to have murdered the unarmed Black man running down a residential street in Brunswick because they thought he broke into a nearby home. Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael and William Bryan face mandatory life sentences in prison, according to the Associated Press.

“Excitement. Hell, I called everybody back at home. I knew it was a party back in my hometown,” Walker said. “I ain’t going to lie to you. It was a great day for me. Like I said, man, it’s a sigh of relief. It’s sad that we had to wait this long for action to take place. But at the end of the day, you know, we got to control what we can control. And hey, we’re happy with the verdict, so at the end of the day, we gonna keep moving forward and keep on going.

“We all have feelings and emotions. Regardless of circumstances, whether you feel bad about it -- good or bad, some people probably felt like they didn’t deserve that. I mean ... who’s to say that I can tell them that they’re wrong, but at the end of the day, we all have opinions and everybody’s going to have a different outlook or different take on it. For me and my family, we just happy as hell. I ain’t gonna lie to you. I can just sit here smiling all day about that situation because, yeah. I’m a firm believer they got what they deserved.”

Walker honored Arbery last season with his name on the back of his helmet and other memorials under his jersey and on his cleats. The fourth-year safety will celebrate his slain cousin again this week, participating in the NFL’s My Cause My Cleats campaign. His cleats for this weekend’s game against the Vikings have Arbery’s face featured, with “#IRUNWITHMAUD” and “BLACK LIVES MATTER” on the sides.

He said the team provided him the artist for the cleats this time around, saying he has another guy that has done that work for him in the past.

“It’s just me continuing to speak on my cousin,” Walker said. “I’ve been kinda doing that for the last year, so it’s just me continuing to push out his name with conviction with everything’s that’s been going on with all that. I just felt like that was another way of me continuing to push out his name and continue to basically just represent him and everything he stood for. That’s kinda what the whole plot and the whole theme of my cleats were. They have Black Lives Matter. It’s self-explanatory, like I said. I know everybody says all lives matter, but in that situation, I want to represent my cousin.”

Walker added that while he feels a sense of closure from the verdict, he will continue supporting everything Arbery was about while adding this issue is so much more than one person.

“But at the end of the day, there’s more people like my cousin,” Walker said. “That are still having these problems. They still have to face the problems of being -- how can I say this subjectively, because their color or being looked at or looked down on because of their color. And it’s sad to say, but at the end of the day, you know, that’s all that I’m trying to promote. My cousin is just an outlook on something that I can personally speak on from personal experience.

“It gives us hope that we’re not considered trash because you know like I know, and it’s hard to say this, but as a Black person, you definitely understand what I’m saying. When we get pulled over, I mean, we’re scared that we could lose our life or better yet, we’re going to jail, just off the top of my head, no matter if we have a light out or we ran a stop sign. It doesn’t matter what the case may be, as a Black male getting pulled over by the police or getting pulled over, stopped by anybody. It’s a problem. I just feel like it gives us hope and more confidence. More confidence for sure.”

Related headlines:

Amid bounce-back season, Tracy Walker monitors Ahmaud Arbery killers’ trial: ‘They deserve to rot in prison’

Lions’ Tracy Walker to honor Ahmaud Arbery with helmet decal, cleats this season

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Source : https://www.mlive.com/lions/2021/12/lions-tracy-walker-celebrates-guilty-verdict-of-ahmaud-arberys-killers-while-continuing-to-honor-cousin.html

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