Michaela Jae Rodriguez
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Matthew Shepard's Mom Moved to Tears by Jason Collins's Gesture

Matthew Shepard's Mom Moved to Tears by Jason Collins's Gesture

Among the touching details that Jason Collins revealed when coming out in that Sports Illustrated op-ed was the revelation that his number, 98, is actually a tribute to Matthew Shepard. And when she heard that, Shepard's mom said it moved her to tears.

"To hear the story behind his number, well, I cried," said Judy Shepard during an interview with Headline News. "I thought it was such a tribute to Matt, to Matt's story, and to so many other young people who are struggling. His own silent, private tribute, I was very moved."

Matthew Shepard is the gay college student who was murdered in Wyoming in an infamous hate crime in 1998. During President Obama's first term, a federal hate-crimes law was passed that bears his name.

Collins is the first active NBA player to come out, and he had worn a jersey number in honor of Shepard without ever explaining why.

"When I put on my jersey I was making a statement to myself, my family and my friends," Collins wrote in the op-ed.

In the video below, watch the entire interview with the Shepards during which they talk about Collins's impact on young people.

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