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Jason Collins met with family of Matthew Shepard

Feb 28, 2014, 9:25 AM EDT

Jason Collins wears the number 98 in honor of Matthew Shepard, a gay college student brutally murdered in Wyoming in 1998 because of his sexuality. It was that incident that spurred a national discussion and legislative push on hate crimes against homosexuals (Wyoming had no such law to charge the accused with in this case), including the federal Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act signed into law in 2009.

Shepard’s parents, particularly his mother Judy Shepard, are now active advocates of-hate crime legislation as well as tolerance programs, something promoted by their Matthew Shepard Foundation.

After Collins’ Brooklyn team easily handled a shorthanded Denver squad on Thursday night, Collins — the first openly gay player in the NBA — met with the Shepard family and presented them with a jersey. It was something Collins described to the media after the game as “one of those cool treats in life” (via the Associated Press).

  1. nyeagles10 - Feb 28, 2014 at 9:57 AM

    Thats awesome.. Positive article, great to see stuff like that

  2. brmorgen82 - Feb 28, 2014 at 10:31 AM

    Matthew Shepard? Really? Why don’t you look at the real story behind Matthew Shepard. He was killed by his own group of homosexual sex partners because he stiffed them on a drug deal You are a cowardly liberal.

    • Kurt Helin - Feb 28, 2014 at 3:30 PM

      As noted after other comments, that story line was promoted by a guy who does exploitation television for a living and denied by police. Believe who you choose to believe.

      • asimonetti88 - Feb 28, 2014 at 5:33 PM

        dude, some former 20/20 correspondent is clearly more believable on this matter than the Sherriff of the County the crime was committed in, and the lead investigator on the case.

        I must be some cowardly liberal for believing them though. I guess I hide it really well, considering I’m a registered Libertarian who voted for Ron Paul in the last election.

  3. 00maltliquor - Feb 28, 2014 at 11:37 AM

    NBA players vs. regular, normal common folk….dude’s so much taller then them he looks like he’s from a different planet! lol

  4. mattyheisman - Feb 28, 2014 at 11:45 AM

    I think it’s time people did a little research on Matthew Shephard. He was a part time meth dealer and drug addict that had a sexual relationship with one of his killers previously. He was robbed and killed because they thought he had money and were afraid he would go to the police after,not because he was gay. Even the lead prosecutor wouldn’t call it a hate crime. There was a book put out last year(can’t remember the title) authored by a gay man who conducted interviews with all sorts of people involved including police and prosecutors. His conclusion was that it wasn’t a hate crime either. A terrible tragedy regardless but Matthew Shephard was no hero and neither is Jason Collins. Being gay doesn’t make someone special

    • Kurt Helin - Feb 28, 2014 at 3:27 PM

      The drug dealer/sexual partner stuff was dug up by a 20/20 producer — a guy who does exploitation for a living and sold a book based on it. You can believe him or the police, who shoot down his theories, but know there is a debate.

      • sumkat - Feb 28, 2014 at 3:32 PM

        One of the guys who committed the crime said they did it for drugs (he also has no possibility of parole, so it’s not like he has much to gain). If they were trying to take them from him directly, or get money to get it somewhere else doesn’t really matter

        It was a crime, and a tragedy for him and his family, but it was not a crime due to his sexuality. But as the saying goes, never let facts get in the way of a good story

      • Kurt Helin - Mar 15, 2014 at 2:39 PM

        Again, that is not what the police on the ground said, and from a rural area as well. I love conservatives who preach law and order until such a time as someone doesn’t fall in line with what they want to believe. Shepard had a drug problem but that doesn’t mean his sexuality played a major role is his death. They are not mutually exclusive.

      • jerze2387 - Mar 2, 2014 at 12:33 PM

        sooo the fact his parents ADMITTED he was involved with drugs, its still not plausable huh?

        Thats like the stories i see here in Chicago all the time. Guy gets shot, his family is on the news saying hes a good boy and never hurt anybody, no trouble…yet hes in a gang, pictures throwing up signs and hat cocked with his buddies and bandanas and s#!t. But nah, couldnt have had anything to do with that.

        Nice how the whole drugs storyline gets forgotten.

    • asimonetti88 - Feb 28, 2014 at 5:35 PM

      “Even the lead prosecutor wouldn’t call it a hate crime”

      That is probably because there were no hate crime statutes in Wyoming at the time.

      • chrldr12 - Feb 28, 2014 at 7:25 PM

        It may or may not have been a hate crime. The murderers were looking for someone to rob and kill. They saw Matthew Shepard and saw someone weak enough to be their victim.

        Matthew Shepard thought that he had found two new friends and went for a ride with them.

        The murder of Matthew Shepard was certainly a crime. But maybe not a hate crime.

        Every homosexual that is murdered is not the victim of a hate crime.

  5. apkyletexas - Feb 28, 2014 at 11:47 AM

    Three points in 3 games. Dude better step his game up – fewer press conferences, more practice time.

    • asimonetti88 - Feb 28, 2014 at 12:10 PM

      He wasn’t signed to score points. He averages 8 MPG. Most guys who average 8 MPG are about the same. He was signed to provide another guy to body up and absorb fouls on defense.

      • jerze2387 - Feb 28, 2014 at 1:51 PM

        “Another guy To Body Up”, eh?

        But also, I agree more practice less press. Hes on a basketball team, not a diplomatic team. Job 1 is to produce on the court, THEN worry about shaking hands and kissing babies. Otherwise the team should have just signed him as an ambassador and given a player who actually intends to focus on helping the team wing games a roster spot

      • asimonetti88 - Feb 28, 2014 at 3:14 PM

        Just curious, but what evidence do you have that he’s not practicing enough?

      • jerze2387 - Feb 28, 2014 at 3:45 PM

        When hes an all star…hell, even a starter, THEN hes practicing enough. Short of that, he obviously has room to improve.

      • asimonetti88 - Feb 28, 2014 at 5:27 PM

        So every player in the NBA who isn’t an All-Star isn’t practicing enough? Or only the gay ones?

      • genericcommenter - Feb 28, 2014 at 11:10 PM

        Some guys just aren’t cut out to be starters and no amount of practice time can change that. Being a reserve role-playing professional athlete is nothing to be ashamed of. I think a lot of people don’t realize that even scrub players in the top professional sports leagues are elite. A guy who’s just a body in the NBA is a better basketball player than 99.9% of everyone else and 100% of the commenters on this site.

        As an example, Jason Collins was an All-American in college and set the all-time California high school rebounding record. I’d bet that most players that ever come close to sniffing an NBA roster were super star team-leading players who dominated almost every stop from elementary school on up.

        My cousin was drafted in MLB and was cut after 1 year in Rookie Ball. He “sucked” in pro baseball. But in high school he won state championships with a sub 1.00 ERA and led his city in hitting and home runs. Then he led a D1 conference in the NCAA in homers and RBI. He dominated everywhere until he got to the pros. He practiced all the time but that’s where he maxed out.

        I can’t even count the number of guys I knew who led the state in scoring in HS as 6’2 forwards and became mechanics or All-State RBs and championship QBs who became reserve college DBs or D3 role players.

        Anyone who’s stuck on an NBA roster for a dozen years brings an elite skill set and attributes, even if one of those things is just simply being 7′ tall. There aren’t that many guys sitting on their couches who provide that, and the few who can aren’t going to magically turn into star players by practicing and trying harder. They are what they are. If anything, give a guy like Jason Collins some credit for staying in decent shape and being ready for the call.

      • asimonetti88 - Feb 28, 2014 at 11:11 PM

        and genericcommenter wins for tonight.

      • daviddmsvcp - Mar 1, 2014 at 2:52 AM

        Hi Mr. Censor, Let’s see how long it takes you to do your dirty work and delete this post.

        But Jason Collins is not a good basketball player. His career was over. He made his little announcement and that served him well. He is committing an unusual number of fouls. he had 5 fouls in his 1st appearance with the Nets. In 11 minutes. Wow. Yesterday, he played 8 minutes and committed 4 fouls. !!??!!? How is that possible? Why would anyone want this foul man :-) on their team?

      • Kurt Helin - Mar 1, 2014 at 5:05 PM

        For the record, the hard fouls and what that makes the other team think when they drive is part of the reason the Nets wanted Collins.

      • asimonetti88 - Mar 2, 2014 at 5:36 PM

        You act like every team in the NBA doesn’t have a guy on the end of the bench to absorb fouls. Jerome James was signed to a $30 million contract after averaged 3.5 fouls per game in 15 MPG.

      • chrldr12 - Mar 2, 2014 at 9:31 PM

        “For the record, the hard fouls and what that makes the other team think when they drive is part of the reason the Nets wanted Collins.”

        So, can you point me to a web page where the Nets said this? For the record? :-)

        So, it’s a skill to commit a foul? This ain’t hockey, you know.

        A quick look at the box score shows that this is not a common strategy. And I can see why. You commit a foul, you send the other team to the free throw line. The only time I can justify an intentional foul is to turnover the ball. You think Jason Collins is going to intimidate another NBA player??!!

      • chrldr12 - Mar 3, 2014 at 7:01 PM

        If Collins played 15 minutes, he would foul out of the game.

        He commits 3.5 fouls in 5 minutes.

    • chrldr12 - Feb 28, 2014 at 3:33 PM

      Collins commits an unusually high number of fouls. He almost fouled out after 11 minutes in his first game. He committed 3 fouls in last night’s game and he only played for 5 minutes.

      He is the NBA’s token queer. An affirmative action homosexual.

      Not a good basketball player.

  6. AndiMirandi - Feb 28, 2014 at 12:08 PM

    I wish his sexuality didn’t have to be such an issue. He’s an NBA player. Period.

    However, I am glad that he is having a positive influence on so many.

    • sumkat - Feb 28, 2014 at 3:36 PM

      I wish he never “came out” because I wish it wasn’t necessary to “come out”. Who cares who he chooses to sleep with, that’s his own business (as long as it stays out of Darren Sharper territory)

      That goes for all walks of life. It makes no difference to me, except when you decide to make it a focal point of every conversation/situation. Guess what, I hate when straight people make their relationship the focal point of every conversation/situation too

      Guess I’m bigoted against self centered whiners. too bad that’s like 90% of our population these days

  7. shuttaman1990 - Feb 28, 2014 at 1:33 PM

    That’s hard b, almost made me shed a thug tear.
    Good looks.

    Lakers all day.

    • Kansachusetts - Mar 1, 2014 at 11:13 AM

      So, sickening shuttaman1990, you’re using “thug” as a synonym for the n-word here, right? Must be, because in no regular sense of the word has Collins ever been a thug. They should ban your ugly racist rear-end from the comments.

      • shuttaman1990 - Mar 1, 2014 at 9:47 PM

        lol what?
        when did I call collins a thug?
        1st off im black.
        2nd off its the white media that has been accused of using thug as the new N word.
        3rd off I used “thug tear” as ain’t a lot of things that make me shed tears(Thugs before yall white media tried to use it to replace it as the new N word for me it meant a gangsta and gangsta’s don’t cry), what he did thats’ touching for a family’s kid that got killed because of his sexual orientation.

        Calm yourself down guy.

        Lakers all day in yo face.

  8. pike573 - Feb 28, 2014 at 5:03 PM

    I usually go to profootballtalk for my hate trolling…

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