ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Detroit Lions safety Tracy Walker III is preparing for his first preseason game against Atlanta on Friday, but knowing justice was served for his late cousin Ahmaud Arbery this week was more important for his family.
Travis McMichael and his father, Greg McMichael -- both white men -- received second life prison sentences Monday for committing a federal hate crime in the shooting of Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man.
Arbery, who was Walker's former high school football teammate at Brunswick High School, was shot and killed while jogging in broad daylight in the Satilla Shores neighborhood, near Brunswick, Georgia, in February 2020.
"I'm definitely happy that his ass going to jail for life," Walker said following Wednesday's practice. "Him pleading for his life, me personally, I'm not somebody to wish death on somebody but he should've thought about that before he killed my cousin, so at the end of the day, he's getting what he deserves. So, good luck to him.
"We don't hear that part and now that we're receiving justice, I'm happy with how the result ended up. The outcome was definitely devastating, but the result after everything and just the trial and the whole nine, it was great to see so I'm very happy with how things turned out."
Walker has continued to honor Arbery's legacy. He wore a sticker on his helmet, memorial T-shirts and a pair of customized cleats featuring Arbery's face with the messages "#IRunWithMaud" and "Black Lives Matter," on behalf of the NFL's "My Cause, My Cleats" campaign last season.
Walker said it was hard on the family as they waited on the verdict, but they feel better that the killers are behind bars.
"It sucked, but we've got to control what we can control," Walker said. "We could only continue to voice out, continue to promote it and do what we could do to control our aspect of it, but we ain't in there in the courtroom so from that aspect we've just got to control what we can control."