Ahmaud Arbery, Walker’s second cousin, was shot and killed while out on a run in Georgia in February. Video of his killing surfaced last week, something Walker told ESPN’s Michael Rothstein on Monday that he’s watched “no exaggeration, over 100 times.”
“Man, he did not deserve that,” Walker said, via 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 [the video] so many times. I couldn’t grasp it. It’s such a gruesome video, you want to know why.”
Arbery, 25, was shot and killed by two white men in his hometown of Brunswick, Georgia, on Feb. 23 while he was out on a run. Video of that shooting surfaced online for the first time last week, which sparked national outrage. Police arrested Gregory McMichael and his son, Travis, on Thursday and charged them with murder and aggravated assault, according to The New York Times.
“We want justice for Ahmaud,” Walker said, via ESPN. “We want the proper justice.”
Walker already wears No. 21 for the Lions, which was Arbery’s high school number. He told ESPN that he plans to write Arbery’s initials on his cleats and wear one of his shirts under his jersey for games this fall to honor him, too.
Arbery ‘was a beautiful soul’
Walker and Arbery, who was a year older than him in school, played football together at Brunswick High School.
Arbery was “slow as molasses, but he would hit you” on the field, Walker told ESPN.
The two lived across the street from each other, and were constantly playing basketball outside or Call of Duty inside after school. Arbery, Walker said, was always smiling.
“He was a beautiful soul,” Walker said, via ESPN. “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, who the Lions selected in the third round of the 2018 draft, recorded 103 total tackles and had one interception last year in 13 games with Detroit. The 25-year-old is set to enter the third year of his initial four-year contract this fall.
Walker said he last saw Arbery in February, weeks before he was killed, when he went home to Brunswick for the Super Bowl and to celebrate his birthday. He told ESPN that they went out for a drink, and that Arbery had told him how proud of him he was and that he needed to keep working harder.
“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, via ESPN. “Keep balling out on that field.
“It was great in that sense. He was basically giving me motivation and pushing me forward to continue being the best person I could possibly be.”
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