On race, Herschel Walker's offer of absolution divides Georgia voters

“Christ doesn’t look at race,” Kathy Peterson, 60, of Perry, Ga., who is white, said approvingly after the speech. “We’re all the same. We’ve been divided by the leadership we have now for too long.”

The few Black members of the audience, however, saw Mr. Walker’s longtime ties to Donald J. Trump — and the former president’s endorsement of him — as a red flag, and an indication that Mr. Walker was merely a vessel for the G.O.P. and Mr. Trump’s ambitions.

“I can’t get a brother from Wrightsville, Ga., jumping on the Trump campaign, you know?” Roderick McGee, 54, said at the Hall of Fame. “I can’t wrap my mind around that.”

He added, “He’s a puppet on a string, and somebody’s pulling those strings really good.”

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