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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Clippers Owner Banned for Life; New Tornado Warnings Issued; Did Private Company Find Flight 370?; L.A. Clippers Coach Doc Rivers Talks About Ban For Owner Donald Sterling
Aired April 29, 2014 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. Tonight, breaking news on several fronts, we're waiting to hear from L.A. Clippers coach Doc Rivers after the NBA gives his boss, Donald Sterling, the basketball equivalent of the death penalty for his racist rants. Sterling reportedly says he is not selling the team, although question is what will his coach say? Stay tuned for that. That's going to happen in this hour.
We're also following another line of potentially deadly storms. Day three in a weather rampage that's already cost nearly three dozen lives and is putting 70 million people in harm's way tonight.
And later, a high-tech company makes a stunning claim that these ghostly images are from pieces of Flight 370. We'll look at whether they're really on to something or way off the mark, and for the first time we'll hear actual radio transmissions from the lost 777's cockpit.
A very big night. We'll break in with any weather alerts if necessary and bring you Clippers coach Doc Rivers when his news conference begin.
First, though, team owner Donald Sterling, clipped hard, hit fast. Barely four days since that tape of him ranting about African- Americans to his girlfriend surfaced, the NBA banned him from basketball for life, imposed a maximum fine possible and began the process of forcing him to sell the team.
We have some new video of him, the first since the story broke on Friday. Sterling and his wife Rochelle leaving a downtown L.A. steak house Sunday night, just hours after she publicly trashed him calling him prejudiced and despicable.
That must have been quite a dinner.
In it, she loudly defends him when a paparazzi asked if her husband is racist.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Are you a racist, Mr. Sterling?
ROCHELLE STERLING, DONALD STERLING'S WIFE: No, of course not. UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: People want to know, Mrs. Sterling.
STERLING: OK. You know that --
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Are you a racist? The accusations, are they true?
STERLING: Forget it. It's not true.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Not true?
STERLING: No, of course not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Clearly a complicated relationship. Again, tonight he is reportedly vowing not to sell the team. We're just now learning about some of the enormous pressure that was brought to bear on the league, pushing it to come down so hard on him.
First, Rachel Nichols on Donald Sterling's high-speed comeuppance.
RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR (voice-over): This audio posted online late Friday night touched off a firestorm for L.A. Clippers owner, Donald Sterling.
V. STIVIANO, DONALD STERLING'S GIRLFRIEND: People call you and tell you that I have black people on my Instagram, and it bothers you.
DONALD STERLING, LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS OWNER: Yes, it bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you're associating with black people. Do you have to?
STIVIANO: You associate with black people.
STERLING: I'm not you and you're not me. You're supposed to be a delicate white or a delicate Latina girl.
NICHOLS: According to the NBA commissioner, Sterling confirmed it is his voice on the tapes. He is speaking with his mistress, a woman named V. Stiviano, who's nearly 50 years younger than he is.
STERLING: Well then, if you don't feel -- don't come to my games. Don't bring black people and don't come.
STIVIANO: Do you know that you have a whole team that's black, that plays for you?
STERLING: You just -- do I know? I support them and give them food and clothes and cars and houses. Who gives it to them? Does someone else give it to them? Do I know that I have -- who makes the game? Do I make the game or do they make the game? Is there 30 owners that created the league?
NICHOLS: Lead Commissioner Adam Silver promised a swift investigation and if warranted punishment. Today, that punishment came.
ADAM SILVER, NBA COMMISSIONER: I am banning Mr. Sterling for life from any association with the Clippers organization or the NBA. Mr. Sterling may not attend any NBA games or practices. He may not be present at any Clippers facility and he may not participate in any business or player personnel decisions involving the team.
NICHOLS: As fast as the condemnation came for Sterling's comments, so too did the praise of Silver's decision. Michael Jordan said in a statement that he applauded the commissioner's swift and decisive response. On Twitter, Lebron James thanked Silver for protecting our beautiful and powerful league. And Magic Johnson said the commissioner showed great leadership.
It was another prominent Californian, former NBA all-star turned mayor of Sacramento, Kevin Johnson, that stressed how the strong message sent by the NBA would reverberate way outside the world of basketball.
MAYOR KEVIN JOHNSON, SACRAMENTO: I hope that every bigot in this country sees what happened to Mr. Sterling, and recognizes that if he can fall, so can you.
COOPER: And Rachel Nichols joins us now.
You've been talking to players all day long. By and large, what's the reaction been?
NICHOLS: Very, very overwhelmingly positive. They feel like Adam Silver stepped up for them. And there was a lot of pressure in that regard because several players had been talking about a boycott of tonight's games if they didn't feel that he went far enough. So there was a little bit of an anvil hanging over Adam Silver's head in all of this.
Playoff time is very lucrative for the league. There's a lot of eyes on the league. If those guys hadn't gone out on the court tonight it would have been a very big deal. And they meant business. But they were happy and you will see them playing this evening.
COOPER: Rachel, stick around, there is late word on how the cloud of the Clippers may already be lifting. Indeed, as in Samsung announcing they will resume their business relationship with the team. At least a dozen companies -- Sprint, State Farm, CarMax, Kia -- suspended their sponsorships before today's decision.
And there's this. Moments after the NBA acted, the team posted this on its Web site, "We are one," it reads. Unclear who arranged for it now that Sterling is out. Unclear as well whether selling the Clippers will proceed at anything like the pace we've seen so far. There's no shortage of interest and Sterling stands to make a fortune if he decides not to fight.
Joining us is legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin and Sunny Hostin. Also former NBA great, Otis Birdsong, chairman of the National Basketball Retired Players Association, and on the phone, former Chicago Bulls player, Jay Williams, who's now with ESPN.
Otis Birdsong, let me start with you. Today's decision, what is your reaction?
OTIS BIRDSONG, CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL BASKETBALL RETIRED PLAYERS ASSOCIATION: First of all, thanks for having me, Wolf --
COOPER: I get mistaken for Wolf all the time, though.
BIRDSONG: Well, I'm thinking of Wolf because Wolf was at our Legend's Weekend in Connecticut.
COOPER: I know.
BIRDSONG: And I got a chance to spend some time with him but --
COOPER: He's far older than I am but --
BIRDSONG: Yes, you're much better looking, too. I love you.
COOPER: So what was your reaction --
BIRDSONG: I'm getting myself in trouble.
COOPER: No. What was your reaction to the commissioner?
BIRDSONG: Well, first of all I was very, very pleased and I want to commend Commissioner Silver for the way he handled this entire process. You know, he took his time with the investigation. And was swift and decisive once he gathered all the facts. And I'm very pleased with the decision and the punishment definitely meets the crime.
COOPER: You know, Otis, when you look at this guy, Sterling, I mean, in the past he paid one of the largest settlements in history of housing discrimination lawsuit, though he admitted no guilt in the settlement. There's some who say maybe what took the NBA so long? Do you buy the statement by the commissioner today that they basically didn't act because either he won a lawsuit or settled out of court previously?
BIRDSONG: I do buy it. In fact, when Elgin Baylor sued Mr. Sterling, you know, we sat back and waited to see what the courts would decided. And the court decided that he really didn't have a case and so what's the NBA to do if the courts decided that they didn't have a case. There is nothing the NBA could do.
COOPER: Jay, in today's press conference, Roger Mason, the vice president of the NBA Players Association, said that players had threatened to walk if Silver went easy on Sterling. Rachel was just talking about that as well.
Have you heard that from players you're in contact with that they were talking about walking?
JAY WILLIAMS, FORMER CHICAGO BULLS PLAYER: I've heard gossip of a potential boycott. And I thought boycott, pending the decision by Adam Silver if it wasn't harsh, was going to be the right decision because you need that TV revenue, you need sponsors to step up to the table and there is no game. You get an answer swiftly. But just to answer the last question to Otis, you know, I do fault the NBA for not handling the situation properly before.
But the person I do not fault is Adam Silver. I think Adam Silver as his first year as deputy commissioner and a young tenure in the game overall did an exquisite job in handling this -- all of these issues that have gone on with racism and by setting the precedent, yes, you know, a guy like Donald Sterling will still make a huge lump sum of money after he sold the team, but he has set the precedent in Silver in not accepting and allowing racism to occur within a very diverse group which is the NBA.
COOPER: So, Jay, you think the NBA should have acted previously, even though, I mean, lawsuits were settled without, you know, him admitting any kind of guilt, another suit was thrown out, that Elgin Baylor brought?
WILLIAMS: I wish that they could have. Now did they have factual evidence? No, it was more so he said, she said. But I -- you know, regardless -- and this is where it becomes murky water because California state law a person should be allowed to have a conversation within the confinement of his own house. That is a slippery slope when you start, you know, allowing this kind of -- this material to leak out when it wasn't a public statement. But the fact of the matter is, it did become public and that the evidence that Adam had to act on.
COOPER: Jeff, last night you were emphatic that Donald Sterling would not be the owner of this team any longer, much longer. He reportedly made it clear to FOX News contributor Jim Gray today that he has no plans to sell the team. This was apparently a conversation before the commissioner came forward.
It sounds like the league could be in for a fight. How would this actually play out?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, the way it plays out is that there is a constitution, the bylaws of the NBA, and Donald Sterling signed onto it. There is a provision that says if three quarters of the owners insist, vote to make one -- make another owner sell the team he has to sell the team.
Now there are certain circumstances in which that is allowed. I imagine that Sterling could go to court and say this is a violation of the agreement. But look, this thing has been lawyered up from the beginning. Adam Singer is a lawyer -- Adam Silver is a lawyer. The NBA has had lawyers on this from the very beginning. They are not going to do this casually. Donald Sterling is not going to be able to fight this in court to any success.
I mean, look, anybody can file a lawsuit. But he is going to be in a position of take his $600 million, $700 million, whatever it is, and go home. That is how this thing is going to end sooner rather than later.
COOPER: And, Sunny, just to play devil's advocate, you know, there -- I've gotten some tweets from people saying look, what about free speech, OK, what he said it's abhorrent. He's this -- you know, it's bigoted speech what he said, but don't people have a right to their opinions?
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, certainly, but I think what's important to note here is that while it was a private conversation it did become public. And remember he's an owner, so did his belief system filter itself into the way he treated his employees, the way he conducted his business. And so I think it's sort of -- you're getting into this situation when you're saying, well, this is a private matter. It was public, it was made public, and I think that there were some ramifications.
But I do want to address this point that Jeff brings up, that, you know, he's not going to be the owner. I think the sort of person that we need to start looking at is Shelly Sterling.
COOPER: Because she's part owner as well.
HOSTIN: She's part owner. I mean it's California's community property. And if you look at the lawsuit, because she's actually sued his mistress, his girlfriend, saying that all the gifts that he gave her are community property and she wants them back. So this is a woman that's very, very active. And I suspect that if -- you know, this suspension, and correct me if I'm wrong, rather this penalty has no application to Shelly, and so does she then continue going to the games? Does she then become this straw person --
COOPER: Well, that's the thing. I mean, Rachel, I mean, Shelly --
NICHOLS: Here's the answer. And this is --
NICHOLS: This has become a big deal now in the past couple of hours. She came out with the statement distancing herself from Donald Sterling early in this process. She said --
COOPER: But they're having dinner together.
NICHOLS: Well, but here's the key --
COOPER: Sunday night. HOSTIN: There you go.
NICHOLS: Right. So she said, me and my children, we distanced ourselves, we think it's disgusting, all of that stuff. And then in the press conference today Adam Silver is asked, does this ban apply to Shelly, does it apply to the other people in the family? And he says no. It only applies to Donald.
Well, this video surfaces, suddenly she is not only condemning him there, is she? In fact, she is defending him. They're having dinner together.
COOPER: Right. She'll yelling at a paparazzi about him.
NICHOLS: That's sort of thing. This raises a lot of questions, maybe they're a little bit more in cahoots than you think. And if you look at some of the other lawsuits, I know you've got the one with the mistress.
NICHOLS: But there are some of the lawsuits with the housing discrimination, the allegations in those lawsuits is that Shelly would go into the buildings and pose as a housing inspector. And --
HOSTIN: And that would -- those allegations were by the Justice Department.
HOSTIN: And so I really think that she is a significant player here that no one is talking about.
COOPER: Well, Jay -- Jay -- go ahead. Jay, the idea that, you know, his wife or estranged wife is going to go to games and try to portray herself, I mean, unless her identity is so wrapped up in being a co- owner of this team, you would think she would also just take the money and go.
WILLIAMS: I think that will probably be the right choice. But let's also remember, guys, this is the first step that Adam Silver has taken in a series of steps. He alluded to that earlier . So, you know, the big thing about this is you have to -- I don't condone the things that she said because she was on his side, then she was -- you know, then she wasn't on his side, then she's defending him so I don't see how a lady like that could walk back into, you know, the Staples Center and she is never going to be appreciated by the fans or the players.
And so I think this is a series of steps by Adam Silver to work this whole thing out in due process over time.
NICHOLS: She was there at the last game, the game that he was asked to stay away from. And it will be very interesting to see if she is in those seats tonight because she has portrayed herself as being separate from him, wanting nothing to do with him, being the white knight in this situation. COOPER: And she is driving the car from the restaurant.
NICHOLS: The Clippers today, after Adam's announcement, were asked of course, OK, well, then who is in charge of the team?
NICHOLS: They basically said look, give us tonight to play the game, we'll figure this out in the next couple of days. But one of the names brought forward was her name.
COOPER: Otis --
NICHOLS: We'll have to see what happens.
COOPER: Otis, can you see a situation where she remains one of the owners?
BIRDSONG: Well, Anderson, I agree with Jay. First of all we are early in the process. But when the dust settles, I don't see anyway, anyhow that any member of the Sterling family will be involved with the Clipper organization. There is just no way.
COOPER: Jeff Toobin, you agree?
TOOBIN: Out of the question. Remember, Adam Silver has been riding a wave of support that is really extraordinary that ranges all the way from current players, retired players, and even Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks who has not been a friend to NBA management all the time.
If he were to let anyone the Sterling family, anyone in the Sterling family, continue to own this team it would wreck all the goodwill he has. He is too smart to allow that happen. Money solves everything. She'll get a lot of money, she'll go away.
HOSTIN: But he doesn't have the power, Jeff, it was my understanding, to control Shelly Sterling. He does have the power to control, of course, Donald Sterling. And I don't think that he also has the power to control the other owners and so there is that question there, isn't that right?
TOOBIN: Well, yes. I mean, yes, he -- but he's going get the 3/4 vote. He knows that. I mean, no owner has come out against him and no owner will, I don't think. But she -- she doesn't have the -- she can go to the games. I mean, that's true that he said she can go to the games. But he decides who the owners of the team are.
TOOBIN: He is in charge and he is simply not going to allow it. She can go to the games, but so what?
COOPER: Yes. Jeff Toobin, Jay Williams, Otis Birdsong, Sunny, Rachel, thank you so much.
We're going to see some of -- some of our panel again when Doc Rivers speaks to reporters, that's expected soon within this hour. Of course, we're going to bring that to you the moment it happens.
As always, make sure, set your DVR so you can watch us whenever you like.
Coming up next, team owners behaving badly and paying a big price. Donald Sterling certainly is not the first. We'll introduce you to others including baseball's Marge Schott. Remember her? Believe it when we say it, bringing her dog onto the field was not what got her into trouble. Find out what did when 360 continues.
COOPER: Again the breaking news tonight, L.A. Clippers coach Doc Rivers will be speaking with reporters shortly. We'll bring it to you when he does. He'll no doubt be asked about his role in the league's decision of sanctioning his boss and his feelings now that Donald Sterling is on the way out.
Stephanie Elam joins us now from the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
As we wait for this press conference from Doc Rivers, you actually had a chance to speak to him and asked him a couple of questions. What did he say?
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What was interesting to me, Anderson, is that I asked if he had heard from Donald Sterling. And his answer was -- it was very interesting the way he put it. He said, I was asked if I needed to speak to Donald and I took a pass. I didn't feel like it was the right time.
Now this is yesterday. But what's interesting is since then we heard the commissioner today, Commissioner Silver, saying that he did not -- he did speak to Donald Sterling but Donald Sterling did not actually have any remorse or didn't say anything beyond the fact that he admitted that that was him on those recordings.
It's an interesting point here because you would think if there was a remorse he would have come out and said it at this point. None of that has happened here and we do expect to hear from Coach Doc Rivers before the game, something he said he was pondering before even the NBA had their presser earlier this morning.
So this is something that we were waiting to see how they handle this. But you could almost feel, Anderson, the tensions sort of ease away after Commissioner Silver spoke and came down very hard on Sterling.
COOPER: You've been at the Staple Center all day. I mean, it seems the press conference, what's the atmosphere there have been like?
ELAM: There are people out here who have signs up. There's one big sign that I saw that looked like, it said L.A. Clippers, but instead of Clippers, it said racist. They were prepared for this here at Staple Center. All along the street here, they have the barricades up. I can see the police presence is very thick. They weren't taking any chances here but I do feel like the people that I've talked to including one really huge fan of the Clippers, his name is Clipper Darrell, he has on a red and blue suit every game. He's a huge fan for 22 years.
He said that he wasn't sure what he was going to do but felt relieved after he heard Silver speak. So all in all, people seem like they're going to come out and support the players but it will be interesting to see what that energy is like once the game starts.
COOPER: All right, Stephanie, appreciate it. Stephanie Elam.
What Donald Sterling obviously said was shocking, it was not however surprising given his history, nor should the idea be surprising that a wealthy, powerful, opinionated individual with some Stone Age attitude, and absolute power over dozens of lives might also find himself or herself in very hot water, or as Randi Kaye explains now, Schott happens.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Marge Schott was the first woman and operate a Major League Baseball team. But it wasn't long before the tough-talking Cincinnati Reds owner opened her mouth and got herself in hot water.
In an interview with ESPN in 1996, she said this about Adolf Hitler.
MARGE SCHOTT, FORMER CINCINNATI REDS OWNER: Anybody in history knows that he was good at the beginning but he just went too far.
KAYE: Schott defended Jews, gays, and African-Americans. In 1994, she said she didn't want her players to wear earrings because only fruits wear earrings. Before that, she had reportedly been overheard saying, "Never hire another n word, I'd rather have a trained monkey working for me."
Still, to many, Schott remained a hometown favorite, often seen smoking cigarettes at the ballpark, while walking her dog, Schotzi. In 1996 fans saw a different side of her, though, when a veteran umpire died from a heart attack on the field, on opening game. Schott was criticized for objecting to the game's postponement.
SCHOTT: I was more concerned about 54,000 people that were here and came into town to enjoy opening day, and came with their families and everything. And I just couldn't believe that it had happened.
KAYE: Her behavior eventually caught up with her. She was facing two suspensions for her comments and an order to undergo multi-cultural training. For years Schott had tried to reverse the damage.
SCHOTT: I know in my heart that I am not a racist or a bigot.
KAYE: It didn't work. In 1999, she was forced to sell the club. BUD SELIG, MLB COMMISSIONER: We find based on considerable evidence that Mrs. Schott's practice of using language that is racially and ethnically offensive has brought substantial disrepute and embarrassment to the game.
KAYE: Comments about race also proved to be a problem for Minnesota Twins owner Calvin Griffith. At a Lions Club meeting in 1978 Griffith explained that he moved the team from Washington, quote, "when I found out you only had 15,000 blacks here. Black people don't go to ball games. We came here because you've got good, hard-working white people here."
Griffith was never punished.
(On camera): But the Cleveland Cavaliers owner Ted Stepien did lose his team after an off-color remark. In 1979 he said that his roster should be at least 50 percent white for marketing purposes since white fans like to watch players who look like themselves. Behind the scenes an effort began to get Stepien to sell the team. A deal was finally made by David Stern who later became NBA Commissioner.
Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
COOPER: Amazing history.
Again, we'll be hearing shortly from Clippers coach Doc Rivers, just as soon as the press conference are going to take place. We'll bring it to you live.
Next, though, we're following more dangerous weather. We'll tell you about the latest watches and advisories and show you how people are coping with some of the hardest hit areas.
Later tonight, also we'll investigate new claims in the search for Flight 370. A company says it's identified wreckage that could be from a commercial plane. You're also going to hear the actual final radio transmissions from the missing Malaysian airliner.
COOPER: More breaking news tonight, another round of tornadoes hitting the south on top of dozens yesterday and Sunday. And North Carolina tonight joining Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi and parts of the Midwest, the latest to face the fury.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rain, debris, this is a large violent tornado. There is all sorts of stuff falling out of the sky.
COOPER (voice-over): A second round of severe weather across five states spawned dozens of deadly tornadoes Monday.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My god. No, no, no. No, no, no. COOPER: The storms tore through large swaths of the south, leaving people homeless and thousands more without power. Bringing the total number of people killed to at least 35 since the outbreak began Sunday.
The system so large it's clearly visible from space. Mississippi was hit especially hard. A massive EF-4 twister with winds greater than 150 miles an hour flattened parts of Lewisville. About 90 miles northeast of Jackson.
Estimated at a mile wide, the tornado pulverized trees and homes, left cars tossed around on the sides of roads and badly damaged the local hospital.
The city of Tupelo, Mississippi, took a direct hit causing massive damage and sending residents fleeing for shelter wherever they could, including a cooler at a local gas station.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The moment of death is just an inch away. To be right on top of you is indescribable.
COOPER: Alabama was also slammed. Houses and apartment complexes in Athens were reduced to rubble. Survivors barely made it out alive.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was just unreal. The wind came up and then just roared. Just roared.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know if it was tornado. It was just black. So we turned and went a different direction. And soon after, it hit.
COOPER: Three people were killed in the state, including 21-year-old, John Sovati, a member of the University of Alabama's swim team after the retaining wall in his basement collapsed. It came nearly three years the day after a massive outbreak in 2011 killed more than 250 people across the state. And while forecasters believe that Mississippi and Alabama are in the bull's eye today, 70 million people from Louisiana to New York remain on alert for any sort of severe weather.
COOPER: Incredible pictures, with that very much in mind, let's check in with Jennifer Gray in the weather center and Chad Myers on the road where the storms hit in Alabama. Jennifer, with the tornado warnings and watches right now, what do we know?
JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Right now, we have three tornado watches still in effect. The ones in Mississippi and Alabama, they expire at 9:00 p.m. Central Time. The one in North Carolina expires 9:00 Eastern Time. Actually the storms in North Carolina, those have been the most powerful throughout much of the afternoon, where the focus yesterday was more on Mississippi, Alabama.
We had a couple of tornado warnings just in the past hour, the most recent one expired just about a minute or two ago. You can see just to the south of 95, a lot of very powerful storms producing very gusty winds, large hail and a couple of reports of actual tornadoes, brief spin-ups there in North Carolina.
I want to focus now on the south, because we're seeing thunderstorm development across Mississippi and Alabama, granted, nothing compared to what we saw yesterday. One of the limiting factors, though, we have been dealing with a lot of coastal showers right along the Gulf of Mexico and the Florida panhandle. That has been one thing that has limited that moisture to surge up into the south.
We were not able to heat up the atmosphere quite as much as yesterday. So that is why we're not seeing those strong storms. We do have one severe thunderstorm warning in Southeast Louisiana, otherwise, though, the good news is we don't have any tornado warnings right now in Mississippi and Alabama.
But just because things are weaker now, still be careful throughout the rest of the overnight hour. It only takes one storm to bubble up and become severe at a moment's notice. Things are trending down and weakening just a bit. We'll continue to monitor it.
COOPER: Chad, you're in Tuscaloosa area of Alabama, there are concerns about flooding, right?
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Pouring down rain, Anderson, and now for hours we were following the storm as it came in from Mississippi. And we know there was potential for spin on the bottom of it. On the southwest corner of this storm it could have spun and it did briefly. But not enough to get a tornado warning. And that is great news.
Honestly, this day could have been a big tornado day, as well, but because of the limiting factors that Jennifer just mentioned, perfect day to kill the tornadoes and make flooding, but kill the tornadoes. So here is what is going on now. It is getting dark here, almost completely dark and it will rain all night in some spots especially gulf coast, on up maybe towards Georgia and Atlanta.
If you're driving tomorrow morning, early to work before sunrise watch the water on the roadways. It may be flooded. The road may be gone. There could be that much flooding in some spots. Now there is no way to tell where that might be. If you live in a flood-prone area and it is raining all day, watch for the creek. It could rain literally all night. It is a rainy night the Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida, as well -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Chad, Jennifer, thanks very much.
Up next, a private Australian company says it found what it believes to be wreckage from a commercial plane. The question is could it be from Flight 370 even though it is thousands of miles from the search zone? We'll tell you where it is, the surprising location. A live update ahead.
Also we're waiting for the coach of the L.A. Clippers to speak now that owner, Donald Sterling, has been banned for life from the NBA. You can see all the media waiting for him to talk. We'll bring it to you live as it happens.
COOPER: Almost two months now, the search team has been looking in the Indian Ocean for Malaysian Flight 370. Now an Australian company has said it found wreckage thousands of miles away from what is believed to be a commercial plane. Question is, could it be Flight 370? More on that in just a moment.
But first another development to tell you about, in Beijing, a recording of the last known words of Flight 370 was played for families of Chinese passengers. The first time the recording of communications between the plane and air traffic control has been played in public. Here are the last 15 seconds.
That audio was finally released more than 50 days after the plane disappeared. What family members want more than anything is answers so far there have been none. But an Australian company is urging investigators to check out something it found in the Bay of Bengal, thousands of miles in the search area.
Miguel Marquez joins me live from Perth, Australia with the latest. So let's take a look at some of these images may or may not be that of a plane. You can sort of see a plane in them. It is also hard to tell. What do we know about them?
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is a company called GeoResonance. It is out of Adelaide. They say they have taken spectral analysis, photos or images from satellites and planes. They captured specific things. If you look at each of those photos, you are looking at now. They have things like aluminium, copper, and there is one for titanium. The sorts of things that you would see on a modern commercial airliner. And they say that they have captured those from the images from satellite and plane.
The problem is every expert we talked to says it is just impossible to do that. It is not possible to see that far down beneath the water and even a little ways beneath the water. If this, the sort of technology that they know. They want to know about the sort of technology the company has.
COOPER: And the company apparently gave officials involved in the search, their initial findings on March 31st, nearly a month ago, do you know, are they being looked at? Have they been discounted? Do we know?
MARQUEZ: They had not been seen before the Malaysians are now saying that they are going to take it under advisement and look into it. The Australians saying that they believe they are in the right place. They say that the area where this company is looking is not along that northern flight path. It is way off. They see nothing in their data so far to suggest that the plane might be there. So they believe right now they are still searching in the right place here in the Southern Indian Ocean -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Miguel Marquez, thanks very much. Joining me now live, CNN analyst, David Gallo, director of Special Projects at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, who co-led the search for Air France Flight 447 and CNN aviation analyst, David Soucie, author of "Why Planes Crash," an accident investigator, fights for safe skies. David Gallo, let's start with you. Do you believe this?
DAVID GALLO, CNN ANALYST: Well, Anderson, you know, it is one of these things again that is perplexing. The technology, the physics works, but can you see through all that ocean --
COOPER: So this was allegedly taken from a plane?
GALLO: Plane and satellite is what they're saying. And typically the ocean is opaque to that kind of radiation so it's not clear how they are doing that. There are all of these reasons plus the fact that it looks like a plane in some of the data really bothers me. Also how did they get this one spot in the Indian Ocean? Did they look at the entire northern Indian Ocean and then one day, there is something now when there was nothing.
What I think they should do is send the boat out and repeat the experiment. The satellite again, use the plane, have some other people with them that can testify. Do it and reproduce this data. The plane should still be there.
COOPER: David Soucie, what do you make of it? Have you ever heard of this company before? Has the technology been used in the investigations before?
DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: Well, this analysis has been used before. Not in aviation accidents before, but a mining company I've been involved with. We've use it to looked to see what's underneath, to see which area we should mine and that sort of thing. You know, the spectral analysis using electromagnetic particles is not new. What they're proposing here is it is actually nuclear particles and gamma rays that they are using to determine the edges and reflections off the various kinds of metals.
So that I have not heard has been used before. Again, I wouldn't discount it for the sake of the families. We spent millions trying to make sure if there was some pieces floating in the ocean we should find those and let the families know. Why wouldn't it be respected? It wouldn't take a lot to have somebody from Bangladesh as David said, go repeat the experiment if you say it works let's see it. Let's do it. That is not a big stretch to go out and validate this for the family.
COOPER: We don't know how they picked this particular spot. It seems very dubious that they would have done spectral analysis on the entire Bay of Bengal even that they just sort of happened to pick this up.
GALLO: If they did, it is ground breaking in terms of ocean exploration and understanding and it's a game changer. So it is quite the statement to make and it is going to be found out one way or another. So we'll soon find out if this is real or not real.
COOPER: It also doesn't seem like they've used their technology to do this in the Southern Indian Ocean.
GALLO: Well, it doesn't. As you said if they did it in the Northern Indian Ocean, they must have found all of sorts of stuff besides just this one aircraft. We're not seeing that here, too, it is peculiar and perplexing on a number of fronts.
COOPER: Also David Gallo, I want to ask you about the new search area which is dramatically larger than what has been searched before. I mean, this is -- we're looking at now a large span of time.
GALLO: Four times the Air France area that would have taken about eight months to survey the way we did it with three vehicles. So it's big. I have to come back there too, Anderson, with, the only witness to what happened to the aircraft are the black boxes. That is the best we have. We need to find the plane and the black boxes. To me, the pingers were like someone on the mountain saying here I am in one case. How do you walk away from that? So what I hope we see is an expansion of the area around where the ocean shield is now, not some totally new area.
COOPER: David Gallo, David Soucie, guys, thanks very much.
Again, we're waiting for a news conference from L.A. Clippers Coach Doc Rivers. He is expected to speak any moment now about owner, Donald Sterling, being banned for life from the NBA. We're going to bring it to you live as soon as it happens. We'll be right back.
COOPER: As we wait to hear from Clipper's Coach Doc Rivers, I want to set the stage a little bit. There is the press conference room. Now we are anticipating him coming out. Any viewers who are just joining us at the end of a very big day, the NBA barring Donald Sterling for life from the game after that taped racist rant of his surface. The league moving to force a sale of the team.
We'll bring back our panel, Rachel Nichols, Sunny Hostin, and Jeffrey Toobin. I mean, Jeff, you last night in the program said that he was gone, there was no way this was not going to happen. Earlier, we are talking about though, I mean, his wife is also part of the team, part owner of the team. Does that add a wrinkle into all of this?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: It adds a wrinkle, but I don't think it is a major obstacle to getting new ownership. First of all, if they bring in new owners they're going to want to own the whole team. They're not going to just buy part of it. And remember, if as it appears likely, Adam Silver has the support of more than 3/4 of the owners. They can effectively force the sale of this team.
And the fact that Mrs. Sterling may own some of it is really not going to matter that much. This will be a forced sale if Donald Sterling doesn't decide to sell it himself. So the NBA will simply take over and auction off the team. I mean, it is unusual and awkward, but that is apparently provided for in the rule.
(BEGIN LIVE FEED) COACH DOC RIVERS, L.A. CLIPPERS: -- no notes or prepped statement here. You know, this last, you know, three or four days have been very difficult for everybody involved. And no matter what the race is, it has been difficult. And I thought Adam Silver today was fantastic. Personally, I thought he -- he made a decision that really was the right one. That had to be made. You know, I don't think this is something that you know, we rejoice in or anything like that.
You know, I told the players you know, about the decision and you know, I think they were just happy that it was a resolution and it is over. At least, the start of it to be. And other than that, you know, I was just really proud of them. I have been proud of the players in the NBA overall. I have been proud of the ownership throughout the league and I think we're all in a better place because of this. So I would like to open up to any questions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Doc, when you first sat down you had a -- you sat there and had this big sigh of relief. Is that how you feel? Is that how the players feel about it? Can you move forward?
RIVERS: Well, we can move forward. We have to. You always have to move forward. And you know, like -- and I've said this before, obviously I have dealt with issues before. You know, you learn over and over, you know, that when something like that happens with the burden of racism it -- it always falls on the person who has been offended to respond. And I have always thought that that is interesting. You know, I felt the pressure on my players, you know, everyone was waiting for them to give a response.
And you know, I kept thinking -- they didn't do anything. You know, yet they have to respond and so Adam responded. And I thought that that was the sigh of relief that we need. Is this over? No, it is not over, but it is the start of a healing process that we need. And it is the start for our organization. You know, to try to get through this and that is very important.
I know we have a game and you know, I have given that some thought obviously. But I do think this has been more important. And I think our players have done the best that they possibly could do in this situation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coach, did you at any time or your players realize that you were working for a man who held such racist views? And did you ever witness any outrageous behavior?
RIVERS: No, I didn't, obviously, you heard stuff. I mean, we've heard all the other stuff. Listen, it had not happened to us. We had not seen it so the answer would be no. So I came here on good faith and everything I have asked they have allowed me to do. But then this happened and you know, there was proof.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You had said at one point that you were worried about next year, does this decision kind of give you some clarity about going forth?
RIVERS: No, listen, I haven't thought about it. Like -- I had not thought about leaving or staying. I just -- and the main reason is honestly, this should not be about me. This -- about me and what I'm doing or want to do. I want to coach. I love coaching. I have enjoyed these guys. And other than that, really, I think Jim or someone asked that question and honestly I don't have an answer because I have given it zero thought as far as that goes. Obviously, Adam's decision, if there was going to be one made, makes mine easier.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Doc, do you need to -- over here, do you need to see progress toward the sale of the team for you to be more comfortable and your players to be more comfortable here? Do you need to see progress toward that where you could be comfortable here?
RIVERS: I think we're just going to let this whole thing play its course or run its course and then we'll all have better clarity, you know? I am not in the position nor do I want to be in the position where it sounds like I'm threatening anything. I want my players to be comfortable, honestly. I think that is the most important thing and so let's just see where it goes with them. And that is important for me. Is their confidence?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now that the NBA has come out and said this is definitely Mr. Sterling's voice, if Mr. Sterling were before you right now what would you say to him?
RIVERS: I don't know, I haven't given it any thought. You know, I don't know the answer to that question. You know, I think we've dealt with people who have said bad things before. Racially or in another way. And I think the thing you would like to do to anyone like that who feels that way is you like to change it. That is what I would like to do. I would like to change anyone's mind who feels that way.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coach, now that you know the voice on that recording was Donald Sterling, do you still want to work for him.
RIVERS: I don't know if I am. You know, I really don't. That is the point of this. That is why Adam did what he did.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will you continue if he still owns the team next season?
RIVERS: I don't know if he will. So let's just again, let it all run its course. You know, and we'll find that out. It is a good question, I'm not trying to be a smart aleck, but I just think we have to wait and see what happens. Like I say, once we do have the answer, clarity for everyone, it is not just me. Rev Lawler has been here forever and he is affected by this, too. We all are. And I think everyone wants to know who they're working for. And I think that is very important.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Doc, had this decision not come down today was there concern on your part that your players would have refused to play?
RIVERS: No. I would say that, but they were waiting for a decision and that clearly could have happened. You know, that was one of the reasons I didn't have practice yesterday in a clear practice situation, when you get blown out like you get blown out you probably should have a practice. I just didn't think it would make any sense to do it. I thought they needed to just go home and be with their families and breathe a little bit.
You know? And so -- knowing that Adam was going to have a press conference today I just felt like we knew that there would be some type of resolution. That is also why we were -- I was almost happy that it was doing the -- his announcement was doing our practice. So I mean, doing the announcement, none of the players were watching. We were actually practicing and playing a game, because that is what our jobs are.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you gotten a sense that it would be more comfortable tonight? And can they play with the freedom that you would like them to play with?
RIVERS: Yes, I'm hoping. Listen, the basketball part of it we have prepared them as best as you can. You know, emotions drain energy. I know that. I felt that the other night. And when you watch it on tape we were slow in everything. And that is because of all the emotions that have gone into this, quite honestly, I didn't think our guys had enough in the tank. I think that they have been able to breathe a little bit more over the last day and a half.
And I'm hoping that they're up for the task. I do think that this will be a safe haven tonight for us. I think our crowd will be amazing tonight. And I think that will help them, adrenalin will be good for us. I think we actually need it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Doc, can you give us a sense on talking to the players what their reaction was, how they were feeling?
RIVERS: It was during a film session. And I just -- in the middle of it, just kind of said what happened and what Adam had said. And honestly there was nothing in the room at that time when I said it. It was complete silence and then I said what I thought I need to tell them. And then we went right back to film.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Doc, the commissioner made it clear that he would like ownership to change with this team. As uncomfortable as it might be to answer this question do you think it would be best if Donald Sterling was no longer owner of this team for everyone?
RIVERS: Well, I don't think he will be. I think that has been clear. I think Adam made that clear unless there is something different than a lifetime ban, a lifetime ban is a lifetime ban. So I think that has already been decided. And yes, I do think that is the right decision. The next step is where do we go? You know, you think about him coaching a team right now and I actually don't know, you know, who to call. If I need something. You know? And so the quicker that this is done, the better for everyone.
Having said that, is going to take time and we all have to be patient.