Matthew Shepard’s family responds to Jason Collins’ moving tribute
On Monday, Jason Collins made history as the first openly gay, active male athlete on a major sports team. In his coming-out piece for Sports Illustrated, Collins acknowledged that he wore the number 98 while playing for the Boston Celtics as a tribute to Matthew Shepard, the 21-year-old University of Wyoming student who was murdered for being gay in October 1998.
In an interview with Fox Sports, Shepard's parents, Dennis and Judy, revealed that they were moved to tears by the news of Collins' tribute:
“It made me cry,” Judy Shepard told FOXSports.com during an interview Monday afternoon. “It was really quite a tribute, and I was very honored. And I know Matt would be thrilled..."
"I would really love to speak to him, because I know Judy and I would just like to thank him,” Dennis Shepard said. “Because, No. 1, he had the courage to come out, period, and No. 2 that he wore 98 in honor of Matt, the year that he died.
“(Collins) couldn’t have been that old (when it happened), so it must have had a tremendous impact on him, the story behind Matt, for him to want to do that. And then to wear it all this time without telling people why until today, that’s incredible.”