Former NFL star Jessie Lemonier has passed away aged 25, and his sudden death has sparked COVID-19 vaccine conspiracies.
The former linebacker would have been 26 on January 26, and tributes have been made by his former teams, Detroit Lions and Los Angeles Chargers, who have shared their devastation at Lemonier’s death.
His cause of death has not yet been announced, but that hasn’t stopped theories surrounding his unexpected passing being shared on social media.
Lemonier was drafted by an XFL team, the Arlington Renegades, in November but chose to sign a contract with the USFL instead before playing a game, and his agent told ESPN that the linebacker was expecting a child with his girlfriend.
His most-recent NFL team, the Chargers, released a statement about Lemonier’s passing: “Gone too soon. our hearts are with Jessie’s family, friends and loved ones.”
The Lions also released a statement that read: “We are shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of former Detroit Lion Jessie Lemonier.
“Jessie was a model teammate and wonderful young man who is gone far too soon.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time.”
Lemonier played seven games during the 2021 season with the Lions, starting two of them and included a sack of Green Bay Packers’ legendary quarterback, Aaron Rodgers.
Jessie was the younger brother of Corey Lemonier, who was picked in the third round of the 2013 draft and went on to play for the San Francisco 49ers, the New York Jets, the Lions, and the Cleveland Browns during his career.
Jessie Lemonier looked to join the XFL after he was released by the Arizona Cardinals at the end of their August training camp.
He was involved in the 2023 XFL draft and ended up with the Arlington Renegades but subsequently left without playing in November for a chance in the USFL.
His sudden death has been queried on social media as conspiracy theorists quickly blamed the COVID-19 vaccine.
One person stated that he would share Lemonier’s status, posting on Twitter: “NFL player Jessie Lemonier #DiedSuddenly suddenly. I will post his vaccine status once confirmed.”
Another wrote: “Another 25 year old football player #jessielemonier dead… cardiovascular related incident but they are not releasing the ’cause of death’. WHEN ARE PEOPLE GOING TO WAKE UP? #jab #questionthejab”
A third tweeted: “The unfortunate death of #JessieLemonier is just another Vaccident,” while a fourth shared their thoughts on Lemonier’s passing: “More and more this is happening. How many aren’t high profile cases. My friend died suddenly at 54. She wasn’t in the news. Many are not!”
Comedian Bob Saget, actress Betty White and rapper DMX were all subject to speculative claims that they had been vaccinated shortly before their deaths, but these were made without evidence.
This notion was in part propagated by a link between COVID-19 vaccines and two heart conditions: myocarditis and pericarditis.
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recognized a link between COVID-19 vaccines and these conditions, such cases have rarely been reported, according to the health body, and “have especially been in adolescents and young adult males within several days after mRNA COVID-19 vaccination (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna).”
Moreover, multiple research studies have also found that the risk of myocarditis is higher after an infection from COVID-19 than after a vaccination for it.
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