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Jason Collins Meets Matthew Shepard’s Parents

From a deeply moved Associated Press:

Collins meets with Shepard’s parents

By ARNIE STAPLETON | February 28, 2014

DENVER (AP) — Jason Collins had plenty of gifts for Matthew Shepard’s parents: a basket, a blowout, an autographed No. 98 jersey that he wears in honor of their son…

Collins played the final eight minutes of the Brooklyn Nets’ 112-89 romp over the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night, and although his three points and four fouls weren’t much to look at in the boxscore, rarely has the 35-year-old center been this proud of a performance…

Apparently, Mr. Collin’s contract with the Nets (which is only for 10 days), only entails him playing for ten minutes or less per game. Which smacks of ‘tokenism,’ if you ask us.

After his cameo in Brooklyn’s recovery from a 44-point loss against the Trail Blazers 24 hours earlier, Collins, the first openly gay athlete in America’s four major sports, met with the parents of the slain Wyoming college student who was tortured and murdered in 1998 because he was gay.

Collins, who signed a 10-day contract with the Nets on Sunday, said the chance to meet Dennis and Judy Shepard was "one of those cool treats in life." …

Collins said Shepard’s death had a deep effect on him. "I was in college at the time when he was killed and of course it’s a tragedy what happened and I just hope that it inspires others to move forward," Collins said…

Well, at least the version he heard. Which might not be the whole truth.

From the October 2013 archives of the UK’s Guardian:

Matthew Shepard’s murder: ‘What it really came down to is drugs and money’

By Andrew Gumbel | Monday 14 October 2013

… A new book, [‘The Book Of Matt,’] by investigative journalist Stephen Jimenez has challenged many of the central assumptions about Shepard’s murder and argues that anti-gay hatred was not the primary motivation for his killing, if it was a factor at all.

Instead, Jimenez makes a persuasive case – based on interviews with the murderers, their former girlfriends, friends of Shepard’s, and police investigators – that Shepard was already acquainted with his killers, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson. That acquaintance hardly casts Shepard in the best light.

All three of them, Jimenez argues, were involved in Laramie’s crystal meth subculture, as users and dealers. McKinney and Shepard may also have had a casual sexual relationship.

“Shepard’s sexual preference … certainly wasn’t the motive in the homicide,” Jimenez quotes police investigator Ben Fritzen as saying. “What it came down to really is drugs and money.” A number of other sources close to the story and the protagonists confirmed much the same thing.

As Jimenez reconstructs it, McKinney was coming down from a week-long meth binge and desperate to cover his mounting debts. He believed, rightly or wrongly, that Shepard could lead him to a delivery of about $10,000 worth of meth coming in from Denver, which he intended to steal. McKinney’s plan was to beat the information out of Shepard, but the beating, fueled by severe drug-induced paranoia, ran quickly out of control…

And even The Advocate, the self-proclaimed "world’s leading source for LGBT news and entertainment," published a long and very positive article about Jimenez’s book, back on September 13, 2013:

Have We Got Matthew Shepard All Wrong?

By Aaron Hicklin | September 13 2013

What if nearly everything you thought you knew about Matthew Shepard’s murder was wrong? What if our most fiercely held convictions about the circumstances of that fatal night of October 6, 1998, have obscured other, more critical, aspects of the case? How do people sold on one version of history react to being told that facts are slippery — that thinking of Shepard’s murder as a hate crime does not mean it was a hate crime? And how does it color our understanding of such a crime if the perpetrator and victim not only knew each other but also had sex together, bought drugs from one another, and partied together?

None of this is idle speculation; it’s the fruit of years of dogged investigation by journalist Stephen Jimenez, himself gay. In the course of his reporting, Jimenez interviewed over 100 subjects, including friends of Shepard and of his convicted killers, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson, as well as the killers themselves (though by the book’s end you may have more questions than answers about the extent of Henderson’s complicity). In the process, he amassed enough anecdotal evidence to build a persuasive case that Shepard’s sexuality was, if not incidental, certainly less central than popular consensus has lead us to believe…

The article goes on to fully accept Mr. Jimenez’s findings. And it even adds:

There are valuable reasons for telling certain stories in a certain way at pivotal times, but that doesn’t mean we have to hold on to them once they’ve outlived their usefulness…

But, as NewsBusters noted at the time, our news media guardians completely ignored Mr. Jimenez’s book. After all, why let such details get in the way of a parable of good versus evil?

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, February 28th, 2014. Comments are currently closed.

3 Responses to “Jason Collins Meets Matthew Shepard’s Parents”

  1. canary says:

    Fact: Drug & alcohol use leads to promiscuity and both females and males doing things they normally would not, even orgies.

    And addiction leads to people doing whatever deplorable thing they have to do to get drugs. Stealing, lying, sex favors, and dangerous things.

    So, substance abuse can lead to more and more bizarre sex acts and make the user lose site of his or her identity.

    Ad society worshiping and encouraging gays and sex deviants and putting them on a pedestal giving them more rights and voice than the rest of society and mix it with substance abuse it is already common for heterosexuals and gays to be killed by a lover.

    The husband or wife, girlfriend or boyfriend is naturally always suspects in murders and so it must be that when a gay person is murdered to look first to the gay person’s lover or spouse.

    It is time to stop spotlighting and making the deaths of gays more important than other deaths just as horrific such as young children at the hands of drug fueled adults, parents or their significant other.

    And even Jason Collins will have to accept he will have gay stalkers madly in love with him. Jason Collins will as he words it have more and more “cool treats in life” as his world expands, and he get’s swamped with men wanting to date him.

    He wants to be sure if all the gay men and boys out there missed his coming out party, that he will get the same attention and men throwing themselves at him, as his heterosexual team mates have lavished in.

    Now Jason Collins can enjoy the same sexual advantages of his team mates when staying in hotel rooms, traveling, parties, and having men fling themselves at him.

    Jason Collins will have to worry as his straight teammates if his boyfriend or boyfriends want him for his fame or money. His spouse or lover may even end up on a reality show and in the news that someone got a black eye or bump on their head.

    And what will be worse for gays is their lover or spouse making it appear as a hate crime in to take suspicion from the real and culprit.

    So, it’s very important that Collins uses his fame in reeducating gay people and to start a program or a shelter and name it something like

    Collin’s Shelter for Abused by Significant Others

    a non-profit organization providing safety, counseling, and therapy for gays abused by spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends, and transgenders.

    Changes in society come with responsibility and gay people need to understand they are no different than other victims.

    • canary says:

      He gave them a signed black and white jersey — although not a game-worn one.
      “I did not want to give them a sweaty jersey, so this is a backup,” he said with a laugh.

      Collin’s clever backup selling autographed 98 black and white jersey’s. I hope all gays buy them, because wearing the earring on the left is not reliable anymore.

  2. GetBackJack says:

    Shepard killed in a meth-fueld bender, gay lover blowout the Press turned into Wyoming Hates Gays story. Virtually nothing about the press reports turned out to be actual or real.

    http://goo.gl/UtHda3 — no less than “the Advocate”

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