TERRIBLE. The 49ers won the game tonight but it all takes a back seat to the human element.
San Francisco Chronicle – Ann Killion 12.21.2019
This is a big game for the 49ers. An epic game.
But it’s still just a game.
The 49ers sadly got a shocking dose of perspective before Saturday’s game against the Rams. Backup quarterback C. J. Beathard (pictured above) flew early Saturday morning to Nashville to be with his family after learning that his younger brother Clayton (pictured below) was stabbed to death Friday night. The 22-year-old, who played quarterback at Long Island University, was one of two young victims killed outside a bar.
The tragedy will certainly resonate with the team. Beathard, who was the 49ers starting quarterback for parts of 2017 and last season, is popular with his teammates.
The team released a statment before the game: “”The 49ers family was shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the tragedy involving C.J. Beathard’s younger brother, Clayton. We extend our heartfelt sympathies to C.J. and the entire Beathard family as they cope with the unthinkable loss of a loved one. C.J. has traveled home to join his family knowing he has the support of our entire organization as they grieve the passing of Clayton.”
This is an unusually close team, as I wrote about in an interview with general manager John Lynch. There is a connectedness that is often missing on NFL teams. The team talks about itself as a family, and we saw how raw the emotions were when head coach Kyle Shanahan presented game balls to John and Jed York following the game in New Orleans.
The family has suffered a tragedy. There’s a game to play. But everyone is well aware that it’s just a game.