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Mother of Matthew Shepard touched by Jason Collins wearing No. 98 jersey in honor of her son

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FILE - In a Friday, Sept. 28, 2012 file photo, Boston Celtics' Jason Collins poses during Celtics NBA basketball media day at the team's training facility in Waltham, Mass. NBA veteran center Collins has become the first male professional athlete in the major four American sports leagues to come out as gay. Collins wrote a first-person account posted Monday, April 29, 2013 on Sports Illustrated's website. He finished this past season with the Washington Wizards and is now a free agent. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File) (The Associated Press)

The mother of a gay University of Wyoming student who was robbed and beaten to death in 1998 says she finds it touching that NBA veteran Jason Collins honored her son by wearing jersey No. 98.

Matthew Shepard's mother, Judy, said that she hadn't known about the tribute by Collins, who this week became the first player still active in one of the four major U.S. professional sports leagues to announce that he is gay.

While Collins hid his sexual orientation until now, he said he quietly made a statement for gay rights by wearing No. 98 with the Boston Celtics and the Washington Wizards. The number refers to 1998, the year Matthew Shepard was tied to a fence and beaten outside Laramie. Shepard died days later on Oct. 12, 1998.

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