Goodwin appreciates support in wake of tragedy
After practices, 49ers wide receiver Marquise Goodwin leads on-field prayer sessions. During games, he keeps the faith.
In fact, in Sunday’s 31-21 win over the Giants, Goodwin prayed on the field over injured New York defensive lineman Jason Pierre-Paul.
“I pray for everybody,” Goodwin said, “throughout the game.”
Given his faith, it’s not surprising how Goodwin explained how he played Sunday hours after his wife, Morgan, delivered their stillborn son at 19 weeks because of complications.
“The honest to God truth, the only reason I made it through the game was because of God, my faith in God,” Goodwin said. “I mentally and physically was not prepared to play in the game at all. … Coming into the game, I really wasn’t in it because I had just lost my baby.”
Still, Goodwin focused enough to grab an 83-yard touchdown catch, add an 18yard run and deliver a key block on tight end Garrett Celek’s 47-yard touchdown catch.
Early Sunday morning, after his son died at 3:52 a.m., Goodwin was anguished and torn. In his grief, he felt a strong desire to stay with his wife, but also an obligation to his team. Goodwin said Morgan made the decision for him: She insisted that he leave and assured him she would be fine until he returned, which he did almost immediately after the game.
“I think it speaks more to her character than mine,” Goodwin said. “She could be holding me back from it. She could be making me feel guilty for having to go and play football, which is just a game in the grand scheme of things.”
Both Goodwin and his wife shared their story Sunday via social media, and it has resonated nationwide. Goodwin said they’ve been overwhelmed by the response.
“We didn’t realize sharing our journey with this baby would gain” so much support from people, he said.
Morgan began having complications about a week before the birth and Goodwin said he didn’t practice, missed team meetings and had little sleep leading up to kickoff. He told just a few teammates about what he and Morgan were enduring, a group that included safety Eric Reid and his cousin, safety Adrian Colbert.
During the national anthem, Goodwin knelt with Reid, as they have done throughout the season, and Reid put his left arm around him. Goodwin, clearly emotional, buried his face in his left hand.
In the second quarter, Goodwin fell to his knees after his touchdown catch.
“I just felt like it was all God,” Goodwin said. “It was all God in that situation that I was able to score a touchdown and to display all the pain that I was feeling at that time that just came over me at once.”
Goodwin suggested his son’s death happened for a reason that he doesn’t currently comprehend. He alluded to his belief when asked if he had message for others who are in the midst of similar situations.
“Never stop believing,” he said. “The reward will last longer than the pain. … It will grow you as a person and make you better. And I know my wife and I will be better after this situation.”
During Sunday’s national anthem, 49ers wide receiver Marquise Goodwin (right) is comforted by safety Eric Reid after the death of his infant son, who was born prematurely hours earlier.