A win to commemorate the life of Clayton Beathard

A win to commemorate the life of Clayton Beathard

Courtesy of Ed Jay Photography

SANTA CLARA — Much of what the 49ers did in their final regular season home game focuses on their quest to finish as the number one seed in the NFC. For the second time in three weeks they won in dramatic fashion as time expired on a Robbie Gould field goal to beat the Los Angeles Rams 34-31.

But to me and I'm sure many others out there who have felt the pain and suffering of the death of a family member, one win was more symbolic to the Beathard family who received the most shocking and tragic news that 22-year old Clayton Beathard, the brother of 49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard was stabbed to death outside of a bar in downtown Nashville in the early morning hours leading up to Saturday night’s game.

In addition to Clayton, another man, 21-year-old Paul Trapeni III also suffered fatal stab wounds while a third wounded man was hospitalized and later released. It brings to light the insignificance of sports which is simply a form of entertainment.

But what is redeeming from all of this is the quality of character and the camaraderie the 49ers as an organization feel for C.J., especially the 49ers players. Many of whom expressed their deepest condolences after the game.

Tight End George Kittle
  • "First I'd like to send my love to the Beathard family. It's a terrible thing to happen to such an incredible family and an incredible person. I've known him for eight years and (he was) kind of a little brother to me That one (win) was definitely for C.J. and that family so thank you. (Clayton) was just a ball of positivity.”
  • “Everything we did we just had so much fun doing. He was identical to C.J. and Tucker in the fact that he was the most competitive person I'd ever met whether we were playing hoops, target practice. Anything that we did he was just so competitive but he always had so much fun doing it. He was such a positive light in the world and it will definitely not be a better place without him.”
  • "It was the toughest game of my career. Today was absolutely terrible. For me the entire day...it sucked all around. I got to talk to C.J. after the game. But yeah it was kind of a brutal day but we got that one for C.J. and I'm so happy we could do it."
Offensive Lineman Mike McGlinchey
  • "It's unexplainable why something like this has to happen but as cliche as everybody wants to make football sound, this place is a family and it starts with that first and it's much more important than football. And that's all I can say about it. We're very lucky to have the close group that we do. Our heart breaks for C.J. and happy that we could at least deliver a win for the Beathard family today and just keep them in your prayers moving forward."
Kicker Robbie Gould
  • "Obviously we're thinking of C.J. and his family and we'll always be here for him no matter what and we love him like a brother and when someone in this locker room hurts, we hurt."
  • Teams usually post the video of the coach's speech after the win but this one from Kyle Shanahan was extremely emotional and inspiring.
Head Coach Kyle Shanahan
  • "I spent an hour (with C.J.) last night and he was exactly as any of us would have been...distraught, struggling to talk but he could barely talk. The last thing he said to me when I walked out the door, he stopped me and goes, 'you make sure the guys go win this game.'"
  • “I didn't want to say that at the beginning (of the day) because this game doesn't mean anything compared to his brother. We all know that but you guys also know C.J. He's got our backs as much as any of us and we've got his. It was a special day for us and I'm so thankful that you could do that for him because it was the last thing he said to me and I know it meant a lot to him. I appreciate you guys for that."

Sports is filled with cliches. For instance, the "speech" by Crash Davis to Nuke LaLoosh in Bull Durham illustrates how players tell the media silly fluff quotes: 'taking games one day at a time,’ and 'give it 100 percent' and 'I'm just happy to be here' amongst other filler BS.

I'm guessing these are supposed to be handed down so we as reporters don't have anything that can be interpreted as bulletin board material to be controversial or antagonistic. The reality is that quotes like that are fed to us in the media so often, if I had a nickel for every time I heard a canned cliché I'd be a rich man.

I'm not advocating athletes are philosophers or poets because they're not paid to be. They're paid to play sports. Because of their great talents on the field, as public figures they are then given a forum off the field (like it or not) to address their fans through the media and now, social media. I appreciate that at the end of the day, these athletes are people like you and me.

Long after I got home from the football game I was still trying to cope with the news and for me, it's very difficult to comprehend. Mclinchey said it best, there isn't much more you can say except to keep the Beathard family in your thoughts and prayers.

Cherish every moment of life because this is a reminder you never know how long you have and nobody is promised tomorrow.

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