Though many were excited about the San Francisco 49ers eliminating the defending NFC champion Los Angeles Rams from playoff contention, the team was mourning the death of their quarterback C.J. Beathard’s brother.
Following their 34-31 victory, coach Kyle Shanahan gave an emotional speech to the players, many of whom were tearful when thinking of Clayton Beathard. The 22-year-old was fatally stabbed during a fight on Saturday morning outside the Dogwood Bar & Grill in Nashville.
“I didn’t know what to say to you guys in the beginning in the day because you know what happened last night,” Shanahan, 40, told his team.
C.J., 26, missed the Saturday evening game to be with his family following news of his younger brother’s death.
“Having to go spend an hour with C.J. last night and just being with him during that. You guys know how tough it is for him and his family,” Shanahan shared. “I spent an hour with him last night, he was exactly what anyone of us would’ve been last night — distraught, struggling to talk.”
Teammates wiped tears from their eyes as Shanahan recalled the heartbreaking conversation he had with C.J. “He barely could talk and the last thing he said to me when I walked out the door, he stopped and just goes, ‘You make sure the guys go out and win this game.’ I didn’t want to say that at the beginning because this game doesn’t mean anything compared to his brother, we all know that,” the coach said.
“But you guys also know C.J. And he’s got our backs as much as any of us got his. It’s a special day for us, I’m so thankful that you guys can do that for him because that was the last thing he said to me and I know that’s still meant a lot to him so I appreciate you guys for that,” Shanahan concluded.
On Saturday, police confirmed that two men, identified as Paul Trapeni III, 21, and Clayton Beathard, were fatally stabbed during a fight at 2:50 a.m. outside the Dogwood Bar & Grill.
“The fatal stabbings appear to have resulted from an argument over a woman that began inside Dogwood Bar and then turned physical when the parties went outside,” the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department said in a statement. “Multiple persons were involved in the outdoor fight during which the two men were both fatally stabbed in their sides. Beathard, of Thompson Station, and Trapeni, of Franklin, were both transported to Vanderbilt University Medical Center where they died.”
A third victim, a 21-year-old man, was treated and released. Police are actively investigating the incident.
For the Beathard family ❤️ pic.twitter.com/Td26FyOEND— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) December 22, 2019
“There’s not much you can say. You just try to hold a person and be there for him,” Shanahan told reporters after the game about his conversation with the quarterback. “We tried to figure it out, what we could do and the quickest way to get him to his family. But that was probably my first time in a situation like that, but I think it’s exactly what anybody would expect. There’s nothing to say, and it’s as tragic and as sad of a thing that can happen.”
Clayton, who was a football player at Long Island University and Battle Ground Academy, was remembered as an “amazing, big and soft-hearted human being with an undeniable love for the Lord” by his parents Casey and Susan Beathard, who released a statement to The Tennessean following the death of their son.
“He had his family’s, friends’ and teammates’ backs even to a fault. I wish he would have been more inclined to take the high road but he hated ‘wrong,’ ” they said.
“That is what we will hold in our hearts because we know he is smiling now. He always worried about all of our welfare, never his own. I say that to say, to those who knew and loved him, please lean into the Lord’s strength, trust in the Lord and carry on. Carry him with you like a chip on your shoulder, like the one he carried. He loved people saying he could do something. That’s where he thrived mostly,” the grieving parents added.
Investigators are looking for male suspects with black clothing and facial hair. Call 615-742-7463 if you have any information.