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Louisville Basketball Press Conference; Rutgers Fires Basketball Coach; Jay Leno Leaving; Guns, Drugs, Beer in Jail

Aired April 3, 2013 - 14:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


KEVIN WARE, LOUISVILLE BASKETBALL PLAYER: It was either -- when he was saying that prayer, what was going through my mind was either I'm going to cry and my team is going to be devastated and we're probably going to win this game or I'm just going to try to say some words that could get us through. And they beat Duke by 22. So I said, I think my words got through good enough, you know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody reacted differently. But take us through Luke's reaction. As you mentioned, he was there by your side. As he said after the game, if he was in that situation, he would want a teammate there next to him.

WARE: Yes, you know, Luke is a -- Luke is a great guy, you know. Luke is a -- he's -- from the time he's been here, he's just been a leader. And I can really say that I really have a deep kind of love for Luke because he's never going to tell you anything wrong. He'll get into it with guy in practice all the time, but that's just Luke being Luke, you know. And when he jumped on the scene, and how he did, you know, I was really more expecting Peyton just because you know how Peyton is. He's really always there. But seeing Luke there, it really just touched my heart. And he said a prayer and he got me through. And I saw coach and I just kept repeating it over and over again. I'm like, coach, I'm going to be good. We just got to win this game, all right. That's just most important right now. I'll be fine. Let's just win this game.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sure you've seen the tape of it. The reaction of your teammates. No, not of the injury, but the reaction of your teammates. Have you seen any of that or --

WARE: Yes, I've seen -- it was like (INAUDIBLE) saw a ghost, you know. I've never seen -- Chane is probably the toughest guy (INAUDIBLE), but Chane is crying his eyes out. Montrezl is crying. Everybody's just in real shock, you know? And just looking around and seeing that, it was devastating, you know? But they pulled it through. And we're going to Atlanta, you know. And that's what's just really most important right now. We're still in season and we still don't want our season to end. So you got to get the job done.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kevin, it's almost been three days. What has been the biggest high for you in the last three days?

WARE: All the support I'm getting. You guys, all our fans. I've been getting -- I've been touched by everyone, you know. Someone called me earlier today and was just saying how this is bigger than just me. Like a lot of people are looking at me like as a role model now because a lot of people that have been in injuries that ended their careers and car accidents and things of that nature and people are really taking note to how I handled the situation. And it wasn't nothing that is out of the ordinary, I mean, because that's kind of just my character. How I handle it. So, you know, this attention, it's not me, but it's really appreciated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kevin, I'm sure you had text -- you were texting and talking with your teammates, but what was it like when you walked in, when you saw them for the first time yesterday?

WARE: Seeing Russ and (INAUDIBLE), you know, it was a great feeling. I've missed -- I've missed these guys. That was the biggest thing, getting back here, you know, being in Indianapolis. My girlfriend did a great job of just being there for me the entire time until my mom and my stepdad could be there. And -- but it's nothing like seeing my teammates. You know, we're brothers. And I wouldn't trade these guys in for the world, you know? There's just a bond there that will never be broken. And that's just as real as it gets.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You talked (INAUDIBLE) from LeBron and calls from Michelle Obama. What was the one where you went, this is big, this is national?

WARE: Definitely a conversation with Kobe, you know. I'm not a strong -- I've always been a LeBron kind of guy, but Kobe, you know, Kobe reaches out to you and people making the fake accounts for the Twitter and the Instagram, I kind of felt like it was disrespectful. That's the only reason I ended up getting back on Twitter to just verify that this guy isn't me, you know. So, them just reaching out to me and showing that it doesn't matter what -- how old you are or what the situation is, everybody cares, that really touched me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I heard you got --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you familiar with the George Gibbs story from Notre Dame?

WARE: No, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "The Gipper"?

WARE: No, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The phrase "just men" (ph), when you're calling your teammates over has kind of taken on this dramatic lore (ph) now. You're on the cover of "Sport's Illustrated." Do you see this being something that could be a kind of a touchstone in sports?

WARE: I would say so. It's just how the injury occurred and everything that's going on. But it's not something that I just planned, like I wanted it to happen this way, you know? Like I said, I'm not really a media guy. Coach will tell you, I'm one of the quietest guys in the world, honestly. And just the support, I really, really do appreciate it, you know? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you left the arena, you were going through everything that you were going through and being prepped for surgery, did you know of anything that was going on back at the arena and when did you find out that you guys had actually won and were heading to Atlanta?

WARE: I didn't -- it didn't come to me that we were going to Atlanta until the next morning because all the medicine I was on. I really didn't even remember coach coming to the hospital that night, honestly. And just me waking up and seeing that trophy right there, I kind of felt like, all right, we're another step closer to where we need to be, honestly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you seen any of the tape of the second half, those last 16 minutes?

WARE: Yes, I saw the highlights. You know, they put like a video together of Duke coming back and tying the game. And I don't know what happened. I guess there was a time-out or a huddle and those guys just came out there and started playing as hard as they could. And they were on a magnificent run. Peyton was playing great. Chane and everybody really stepped up. And it was very -- it was -- it was very, very, very, very proud. I was very, very proud of my team.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kevin, you're from --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've heard you got a puppy that you named Scar?

WARE: I named him Scar. Yes. He's a little pitbull. He's -- we've got a connection already, you know. We're like best friends really. It is just like -- I felt like it was one of those things where I'm going to need something to do, somebody to entertain me. And I kind of felt like a dog would be the perfect situation, you know?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When did you get him?

WARE: They got him the day I was in -- the first day I was in the hospital, they Facetimed me. Zach and Wayne went and picked him up for me and just showed me how they had the shirt with his name, my number, and Ware on it and he's just looking at me and I'm looking at him and it was a very emotionally -- very emotional time right there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Speaking of the shirts, how cool is the shirt you're wearing right now? That that's kind of the motto now for this team.

WARE: Yes, you know, I just feel like they're -- they're not playing just to win a national championship now. You know, we accomplished a Big East championship last year. We accomplished making it to the Final Four last year. Our goals are still the same. My injury or not, I still want to win a national championship, just like if I was out there playing, you know. And when we cut down the nets, that's what's going to be most important.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kevin, you grew so much this year on the floor and off the floor. After spending -- what was it? What made you a different player in the last part of the season?

WARE: It was really just him having the confidence in me, really. I've been telling the media this since my suspension, since I came back for the Marquette game, he just basically told me I need to go out there and play basketball, you know. And watching guys like Russ and Peyton and learning from what they do and these are some of the best guards in the country, honestly. So it's something I can't take from that. Like you take a lot from watching Russ, you know. It was kind of like coach wanted us to be more like Russ, just being aggressive and doing more stuff. And I kind of felt like I started to pick it up. Like and kept progression, and kept aggression as the season went on. But, you know, stuff happens and they got to get the job done without me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kevin, you're from Conyers, Georgia. You're going back to Atlanta now for the Final Four. How much support have you received from your hometown and how much more touching is this trip for you (INAUDIBLE).

WARE: A tons of support, you know. Everybody that I was really close with in high school has really been reaching out and trying to make sure I'm fine. And they want to come visit and do things. Like I don't have a basketball tournament, but most of the guys, I already told them, like I'm still be busy, like if I was playing, you know. So I'm going to try to get as much time as I can in with them. And I appreciate all the support and everything I've been getting, but we still got to go out there and we got a job to handle (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You said they listened to your message. (INAUDIBLE). What are you telling them for Saturday?

WARE: I don't think I have to tell them anything, honestly. I think they'll just look over to the bench and see me sitting there and that's -- that will be all the motivation they need really. This isn't one of those things where we need to be motivated. I kind of feel like we're in the Final Four. There's four teams left, you know. It's either we're going to win or we're going to be back here in Louisville, you know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you not been told when you can start playing again or what are your thoughts on that?

WARE: No, I'm just taking it day by day, honestly. They said the bone -- it would take the bone eight to 12 weeks to heal. And whatever the time period comes in after that is when I'll be able to play. I really don't know right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your team has a lot of second half comebacks. Big bursts in the second half. From the inside out, as a player, can you see and feel the fatigue that a lot of these teams are feeling midway through the second half (ph)?

WARE: Yes, I mean Coach G. does a great job with us in the summertime. We cry and moan about it and really give him a hard time in the summertime, but he really does a great job of making sure a lot of condition and in better shape than any team we face this year. And that kind of sets in for a lot of teams, like your Colorado State and Notre Dame and all those teams that we play that really just got tired. Like the -- the only game I can really think of that really knocked us out the water last year was when Marquette beat us pretty bad and then we played them again in the Big East tournament last year and you just see them guys over there on their knees and can barely breathe and it was just, like this -- everything we do is for a reason, you know? And everything here helps.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What would be your message to Louisville fans right now?

WARE: I'm OK. I appreciate all the support that they've been giving me. And if there's any way I can reach out to them and show them that I do appreciate it, I would.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You were talking about cutting down the nets.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) a moment, please. Give coach an opportunity if he -- is there any other questions for coach? Anything anybody needs to get in right now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coach, do you have any response to the Rutgers situation (INAUDIBLE)?

RICK PITINO, LOUISVILLE CARDINALS COACH: You know I've -- it was very difficult to watch that. I'm very disappointed. I hope -- I hope Mike gets -- gets some issues taken care of and it was very difficult to watch that -- that whole thing. I hope, though, for his sake, he gets -- he, you know, with his family, I hope they get back and they recover in some positive way. But it was difficult to watch certainly. And I hope, for the situation there, a lot of healing must take place with something like that and I hope it does.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When -- as a coach, when you see something like that, talking about the relationship you have with your players, I mean what goes through your mind when you see that?

PITINO: You know, I've never seen anything like that before. And I'm sure that there's a different side of him that really cares about his players. But that was difficult to watch, to say the least.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coach, you talked a lot about your guys and the relationship. What was -- just going back to the Final Four (INAUDIBLE) with this group (ph)?

PITINO: You know, the Final Four is just, like I said earlier, the best thing about a Final Four is to put on that uniform and play in it. The second best thing is to be part of it as a teacher, as a trainer, as an equipment man. You know, because we're all there together. We had to get there together. There's not one person that can get a team to a Final Four. And it's a collective effort by everybody involved, you know? Our sports information director, after every game, is up to 3:30, 4:00 in the morning. I know it because once in a while he'll stop by and see me at that time. So, you know, it's a collective effort for everybody to finally --

(END LIVE FEED) DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. Don Lemon here. That was Coach Rick Pitino commenting on the situation that happened on Sunday with his player and also commenting on the Rutgers coach, saying he hopes his family gets back together and he gets his act together and that he, you know, in some way he cared for his -- for his team. We're going to talk more about that in a little bit.

Also speaking at that press conference was Louisville guard Kevin Ware. He just spoke out for the first time since he broke his leg in a gruesome scene on Sunday at the NCAA basketball tournament. He seems to be in really good spirits right now, taking things in stride. You know his injury was so horrifying, it brought his teammates and his coaches to tears. And we just learned that Ware is heading to Atlanta tonight to watch his team in the Final Four. His hometown is just outside of Atlanta.

And I have this reminder for you. CNN's Rachel Nichols is going to have an interview with Kevin and his mother, that's next hour here on CNN. Make sure you tune into that.

The other college basketball headline, you heard the coach mention it there, one of the reporters asked him about it in that press conference, Rutgers University basketball coach Mike Rice speaks out. This is the first time that we're hearing from him since the video was released showing him abusing players physically and verbally at practice. He was fired this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE RICE, FORMER RUTGERS MEN'S BASKETBALL HEAD COACH : As I stated three months ago, after I watched the video how -- how deeply regrettable those actions, how -- I also stated I was going to try to work on changing, and I think I've accomplished a lot of that. Can't say anything right now except I'm sorry and there will never be a time where I'm going to use any of that as an excuse or there be any excuse.

I've let so many people down. My players, my administration, Rutgers University, the fans, my family, who is sitting in their house just huddled around because of the fact that their father is an -- was an embarrassment to them. And it's troubling. But I will -- at some time, maybe I'll try to explain it, but right now there's no explanation for what's on those films because there is no excuse for it. I was wrong. And I want to tell everybody who's believed in me that I'm -- that I'm deeply sorry for the pain and the hardship that I've caused.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Now, this is painful all the way around. You can hear the pain, the anguish in his voice. The video is painful as well. I want to show you more of that video now. It's what sparked this investigation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICE: (EXPLETIVE DELETED). You're a (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: ESPN released this video less than 24 hours ago. Rice is seen yelling homophobic slurs at players during a practice session from last November. He threw basketballs at their heads and violently pushed and even shoved them.

Want to bring in now Grant Wahl. He's a senior writer for "Sports Illustrated." He joins me now from New York.

So, Grant, you know the Rutgers athletic director knew of Rice's behavior in the past, but only suspended him. Why not fire him back then?

GRANT WAHL, SENIOR WRITER, "SPORTS ILLUSTRATED" (via telephone): I'm sorry, I'm having a hard time hearing. Can you repeat that?

LEMON: Why not fire him back then when the athletic director knew about his behavior?

WAHL: Yes, that's the big question right now. And once you see this video, all these videos, you hear the things that were being said, he goes beyond the pale. And any administrator who knows what they're doing would have fired the guy upon seeing this for the first time. And amazingly, and, you know, I give ESPN credit for reporting all this stuff yesterday and speaking to Tim Pernetti, the athletic director, he told them it was a first offense in his mind. Well, there were a lot of first offenses that took place and Pernetti may have felt that he could rehabilitate, in his words, Coach Rice. But, you know, that decision, which could be really a poor one in retrospect, especially now that they have fired the coach only now that the video has gone public.

LEMON: Hey, Grant, Grant, I want to read this. You brought up Pernetti. He's the athletic director. And here's what he says. This is a quote from him. He says, "I am responsible for the decision to attempt a rehabilitation of Coach Rice. Dismissal and correction action were debated in December and I thought it was in the best interest of everyone to rehabilitate, but I was wrong. Moving forward, I will work to regain the trust of the Rutgers Community."

That was released before Rice was fired today. So is Pernetti's job in jeopardy, you think, Grant?

WAHL: I would think it should be and has to be, especially when you see someone like Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey, putting out public statements yesterday saying that Rice should have been fired, and putting out another statement post-firing of the coach that he still doesn't understand why those above him didn't act in the right way back in December when they suspended Rice instead of firing him.

Now, the president of the university, and Rutgers is a state university of New Jersey, the president of the university now says he was -- had not seen the video until yesterday where the athletic director, Pernetti, had said yesterday that the president had seen the video long before. LEMON: Yes.

WAHL: So there's a lot of questions right now about how far this might go. Whether the athletic director should lose his job as well. Clearly the whistle-blower, Eric Murdock (ph)--

LEMON: Lost his job.

WAHL: (INAUDIBLE) assistant coach on the team, he did lose his job.

LEMON: Yes.

WAHL: And I think there's a real issue there that he lost his job, he alleges, because he supported the (INAUDIBLE) --

LEMON: Was a whistle-blower.

Hey, Grant, we have to run, but there are -- listen, a lot of things fell through the crack here. We're going to be talking to you a lot more and discussing this story a whole lot more here on CNN. Thank you, Grant Wahl. We appreciate it.

There are some other big news now. This one involving television. Jay Leno is out as host of NBC's late night flagship "The Tonight Show." When this press release came over, you should have heard the new rooms erupt because it's confirming most of what we had been hearing. All of the rumors that had been making headlines over the past few weeks. Leno will end 22 years as "Tonight Show" host in the spring next year. That's when Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Fallon, will take over and "The Tonight Show" will move from L.A. to the big apple, to New York City. Entertainment correspondent Nischelle Turner live for us in Los Angeles. Bill Carter is the author of "The War For Late Night: When Leno Went Early and Television Went Crazy. He is -- and television is going crazy right now. So it's all nuts.

So, Nischelle, Leno's on top of the battle for late night viewers. I mean his ratings are good. He's number one.

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Yes.

LEMON: And it says it in this press release. Why is NBC making this change now?

TURNER: Well, you know, well, first of all, there's a lot of reasons why. But NBC said their official reason is simply because they felt like it was time. Here's what they said. They said, "we are purposefully making this change when jay is number one, just as Jay replaced Johnny Carson when he was number one. Jimmy Fallon's a unique talent and this is his time."

Now, all of those things seem to be true. One of the things that we've heard throughout this --

LEMON: Johnny retired, Nischelle. Johnny retired.

TURNER: Yes. Well -- LEMON: Jay Leno's not retiring.

TURNER: And that's true. But if you read this press release, whether you believe it or not, it says Jay Leno announces he is leaving. So they're spinning it as this was Jay's idea. So that's what they're saying on paper.

But we all know that Jay loves to work.

LEMON: Yes.

TURNER: And, you know, I think the worst kept secret in Hollywood is that he doesn't really want to leave his show. But, you know, that's the situation that they're in now, Don.

LEMON: OK. All right, Bill, to you, because Leno's not just number one in his time slot. I want you to listen to what NBC says. It says "'The Tonight Show with Jay Leno' has ranked number one ahead of its ABC and CBS time period competition in 18 to 49-year-old viewers and total viewers for each season since Leno's return in March of 2010."

So, Bill, he's beating Jimmy Kimmel, David Letterman, overall in the terms of most sought after viewers. What's really behind this switch then?

BILL CARTER, AUTHOR, "THE WAR FOR LATE NIGHT": Well, it's a timing thing. Look, I mean, you know, Jay had a -- has a contract that goes through September of 2014. And then Jimmy Fallon's contract was going to be up in 2015. And I don't think they wanted to lose Fallon. They had some concern about that. But I also think, you know, Jay's in his mid-60s and I think they feel like, for the future, the way television is changing and all the Internet aspects of this, they need to get a younger guy in there. And by the way, Jay told me that really the difference with this was he went along with -- he agrees with this. He's on board with this.

LEMON: Hey, I have negative time here. But, Bill, where does he go from here? Where does Jay Leno go?

CARTER: Well, I think he'll go on the road. He'll do -- you know he's always in demand in Vegas and for corporate comedy gigs. And then he'll play his options out. I mean somebody will probably call him up at some point because he does -- he does deliver numbers. So I wouldn't be surprised to see him back on television.

LEMON: Yes. And I think Nischelle agrees with that. Yes, Nischelle?

TURNER: Absolutely.

LEMON: Bill Carter and Nischelle Turner, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

TURNER: Sure.

LEMON: Guns, beer, gambling, even illegal drug use. Inmates allegedly holding a party in jail. But is this anything new? What New Orleans is planning to do about it.

Then, the line is getting longer. Another person accuses the former voice of "Sesame Street's" Elmo of sexual abuse.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Guzzling beer, doing drugs, playing with guns, all behind bars. Shocking video shows inmates with guns and apparently doing drugs inside a New Orleans jail. We don't know when the video was recorded. It surfaced in a court hearing over proposed jail reforms in New Orleans. (INAUDIBLE) an expert testified he'd never seen this kind of dysfunction, he calls it. Sara Ganim live in Miami for us. And our legal analyst, Sunny Hostin, is in New York.

What the heck is going on? How does this happen in prison? Sara, I mean, getting guns, drugs, I mean, do they have help getting this stuff in, Sara?

SARA GANIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's a great question, Don. How they got this stuff inside the jail is something we don't know the answer to at this point. Clearly, guns, drugs, cell phones, which they used to shoot this video, those are all contraband. They're not supposed to be in the jail.

You can actually see on some of these videos how the inmates could freely walk around, could reportedly even walk out of the prison and then come back in. So, you know, you could presume that if the conditions were like that, it would be pretty easy to get some of this stuff inside.

Now, I want to tell you that CNN did talk to the mayor this morning. He gave us a statement where he -- we asked him how these videos surfaced. And he said this. "This tape was hidden away from the public in a safe in the sheriff's office and only came to light when the city's legal team fought to uncover it."

As you mentioned, it was first aired for first time, even though these are several year old, during a court proceeding that's going on all this week and the fight is over who should have to pay to fix this problem.

LEMON: Sunny --

GANIM: Clearly this is not how a prison should operate.

LEMON: Sunny, if this is -- listening to, you know, the statement that Sara got, was this a cover-up? Did they know this and they were holding the tape and they kind of tried to cover it up?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, there's no indication of that yet, but it is clear that people are concerned. I mean there is this consent decree that was agreed to in December between the Justice Department, the Southern Poverty Law Center that was representing some of the inmates, and even the sheriff of the jail himself, Sheriff Gusman. And it's a 53-page, Don, agreement. And the agreement, consent decree, and its proposed, it hasn't been approved by this judge yesterday, which is why there is this hearing, addresses all of these issues. It would provide for increased staffing so that people can't just leave a jail and have all of this contraband and that sort of thing. It would also provide for some mental health care. It would provide for violence prevention, which is a significant problem now in the New Orleans jails. And, of course, medical care, because we know so many horrible things have happened at that particular jail.

And so people are certainly looking at this.

LEMON: Yes.

HOSTIN: And trying to fix it. The real question is the cost. Who has to pay for it? Who has the money?

LEMON: The taxpayers.

HOSTIN: They're estimating it could be like $17 million that the city would have to come up with.

LEMON: Yes. Jail is supposed to be about rehab. Doesn't look like that's happening there.

Thank you very much, Sunny and Sara. Appreciate that.

Streets, yards, driveways covered in oil. Have you see this video? Dozens of homes evacuated after a pipeline leak. Now Exxon is agreeing to pay. They've got to answer a whole lot of questions too.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)