Detroit Lions safety Tracy Walker lost his cousin Ahmaud Arbery a few months back when an unarmed Arbery was killed while jogging in a Georgia neighborhood as a civilian. There were no arrests initially made until months later when video of the incident was released publicly.
That death, along with recent examples of police violence including the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, have sparked national and global outrage and protests.
On Friday night, the NFL commissioner Roger Goodell released a video statement admitting the league’s own fault in not paying attention to this cause earlier, when players like Colin Kaepernick tried to raise awareness by kneeling during the national anthem back in 2016 and through the 2017 season. The NFL responded by banning demonstrations during the anthem for the 2018 season.
“We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier, and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest,” Goodell said.
Walker reacted to Goodell’s statement late on Friday night when he joined CNN’s Chris Cuomo and believed it was a sign of the progress the NFL is making.
“It definitely means a lot,” Walker said. “Because that’s the first step, I feel like. Us all uniting as one and trying to accomplish the common goals that we’re trying to reach for, which is equality.”
Walker also spoke about his cousin, providing some background as to the kind of person he was before he was killed.
“He was a great soul, man,” Walker said of Arbery. “He was a funny person. He was always about having a good time. He wasn’t no person to beef with people. Like I said, he stays in his own lane. He wasn’t the type to go out and cause trouble. He always wanted to have a good time, put smiles on people’s faces.”
You can watch Walker’s entire segment here:
Tracy Walker, NFL safety and Ahmaud Arbery's cousin: "We need change, and we all see that"
Detroit Lions safety Tracy Walker, a cousin of the late Ahmaud Arbery, says NFL players need to unite as the league condemns racism in America. "We need change, and we all see that. We all see that we've got to come together... If we don't buy in and unite as one, we're going to continue to still go through this. So I feel like that's kind of the step we're taking right now."Posted by CNN Replay on Friday, June 5, 2020