Jamain Stephens, a defensive lineman at Division II California University of Pennsylvania and the son of a former NFL player, died on Tuesday. He was 20 years old.
The son of a former Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle was entering his senior year of college. He was a business administration major who grew up in Pittsburgh.
“Jamain was such a wonderful student with a smile on his face every time you saw him. His personality was contagious and he made such a positive impact on everyone he met,” Athletic director Karen Hjerpe.
An official cause of death has not been released yet, however, a Facebook post from his high school attributed it to COVID-19 complications. This led to several “college football player dies from COVID-19 headlines” from prominent news outlets.
The Facebook post has since been edited and the school has apologized.
Yesterday, it was reported that DII DL Jamain Stephens died as a result of coronavirus complications off a post his HS put on FB. Nobody bothered to check with the family. Today, the cause of death has been removed and Central Catholic apologized https://t.co/PXpDMBMluU
— Andrea Adelson (@aadelsonESPN) September 9, 2020
“When we heard the news of Jamain Stephens’ death, we as a community were devastated,” Brother Tony Baginski, FSC, principal of Central Catholic, wrote in the Facebook statement.
“He was well loved by everyone in our community, and in an effort to get the news out about his death in a timely manner, we mistakenly attributed his death without official confirmation on cause of death. We had obtained the information about his passing from close friends of Jamain, who reached out to us with the news. We apologize for this error, and this information has since been removed from our Facebook announcement dated 9/8/2020. At this time, we do not have official confirmation on his cause of death.
“Jamain was the embodiment of everything a Central Catholic student should be: kind, gentle, giving, faithful and a friend to all. We pray for Jamain and his friends and family during this terrible time.”
This is a good example of how everyone needs to be more cautious and patient with reporting, especially when it comes to death.
Sports are being played and COVID-19 is obviously still a global issue, but at times, there’s clearly too much of a rush to judgement.
Our thoughts remain with Jamain’s friends and family.
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