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LIU quarterback, another man stabbed to death in Nashville, cops say

Clay Beathard at Long Island University's Brookville campus

Clay Beathard at Long Island University's Brookville campus on Sept. 3 of this year. Credit: James Escher

The starting quarterback for the Long Island University football team and another man were stabbed to death outside a Nashville bar early Saturday after what police in Tennessee said was an argument over a woman.

Clayton Beathard, 22, a junior at LIU, and Paul Trapeni III, 21, died at Vanderbilt University Medical Center after a 2:50 a.m. fight where multiple people were involved, Metropolitan Nashville police said. A third 21-year-old victim, whom police did not identify, was treated and released.

Police said the fight outside the Dogwood Bar & Grill appeared to have resulted from an argument that started inside.

Nashville police issued a photo of a young man in the bar and asked for the public's help to identify him for questioning.

Beathard, of Thompson Station, Tennessee, was the quarterback for the LIU Sharks, which began Division I play this fall. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound junior transferred from Iowa Western Community College in January. He appeared in seven games this fall before missing the rest of the season due to injury, according to LIU's football team website. He was second on the team in scoring with three touchdowns.

LIU football coach Bryan Collins tweeted, "Heartbreaking Day. Our Family is hurting. All of my thoughts and prayers are with the Beathard Family. Clay you will be remembered always. Love our Sharks." It included a note remembering Beathard.

Liam McIntyre, a freshman linebacker from East Moriches, said Beathard "was as tough as nails, a real competitor with a huge heart."

"He took a beating at quarterback as we transitioned into the Division I level …. But he never pointed the finger at anyone, just kept moving forward and playing hard until the final whistle," McIntyre said. "He also stood up for what he thought was right. I respected him so much."

Beathard came from a family of prominence in the fields of country music and professional football. He is the son of country music songwriter Casey Beathard and Susan Beathard. His brother, Tucker Beathard, is a country music singer.

His older brother, C.J. Beathard, is a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, which played the Los Angeles Rams Saturday night. His 82-year-old grandfather, Bobby Beathard, won four Super Bowls as an NFL general manager and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2018.

The Beathard family issued a statement to The Tennessean on Saturday, thanking people for their support and asking for prayers for both victims' families. 

"Clay was an amazing, big and soft hearted human being with an undeniable love for the Lord. He had his family's, friends' and teammates' backs even to a fault," part of the statement read. " … He was never afraid of a challenge so please, all of you, take on the next challenge with faith in God and knowing Clay is smiling down and has your back." 

The 49ers issued a statement Saturday saying that C.J. Beathard had traveled home to be with his family.

“The 49ers family was shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the tragedy involving C.J. Beathard’s younger brother, Clayton," that statement said. "We extend our heartfelt sympathies to C.J. and the entire Beathard family as they cope with the unthinkable loss of a loved one.”

Long Island University released a statement Saturday night, saying: 

"On behalf of the LIU community, we extend our heartfelt condolences to Clay’s family as well as to his teammates, and friends. … Clay, his family and all those who were fortunate to know him are in our thoughts and prayers."

The statement said the university will share service details when they become available. 

With Gregg Sarra and Roger Rubin

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