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@THISHOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
Sterling Speaks to Anderson Cooper; Boko Haram Releases Video of Girls; Escaped Nigerian Girl Speaks to CNN; Offers Exchange; NFL Players React to Michael Sam's ESPN Kiss
Aired May 12, 2014 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: Donald Sterling in his own words. Finally telling his side of the story and telling it exclusively to CNN's Anderson Cooper.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD STERLING, OWNER, L.A. CLIPPERS: I'm wrong. I caused the problem. I don't know how to correct it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN HOST: Then, the faces of some of those school girls kidnapped in Nigeria. This just released video comes with demands from the terrorists who captured more than 200 girls. What will it take for Boko Haram to set these girls free?
BERMAN: And the coordinator leading the search for missing flight 370 defends where searchers are looking despite a new report questioning two of the pings heard underwater last month.
BERMAN: Hello, everyone. I'm John Berman.
PEREIRA: And I'm Michaela Pereira. Happy Monday, everybody. It's 11:00 a.m. out East, 8:00 a.m. out West. That's the time. I just told them that.
BERMAN: That is in fact the time.
PEREIRA: There are so many stories we want to get to. It's been a really busy news day.
We want to talk about what's going on with the Clippers. It's just been a crazy, crazy weekend. Up until now really all we've heard from Donald Sterling was like this disembodied voice on the recording that we have.
BERMAN: Yes, but now the most infamous owner in sports is speaking publicly about his offensive rant drawing scorn from everyone there is. It could cost him and his family the team they've owned for more than 30 years.
So Donald Sterling now says he's sorry. He sat down for an exclusive interview with our Anderson Cooper.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STERLING: I'm a good member who made a mistake, and I'm apologizing, and I'm asking for forgiveness.
Am I entitled to one mistake after 35 years? I mean, I love my league. I love my partners.
Am I entitled to one mistake? It's a terrible mistake. And I'll never do it again.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, "AC 360": The vice president of the NBA Players Association, Roger Mason, he said that players won't accept anyone in the Sterling family owning the Clippers, not you, not your wife, not your son-in-law, not your daughter.
Do you believe that?
STERLING: I really don't know. The people that are going to decide my fate I think are not the media and not the players union but the NBA.
COOPER: The owners?
STERLING: Pardon me?
COOPER: The owners.
STERLING: The owners. If the owners feel I deserve another chance, they'll give it to me.
COOPER: But there's a path for you to fight their decision, isn't there?
STERLING: Of course. But if you fight with my partners, what at the end of the road, what do I benefit, especially at my age?
If they fight with me and they spend millions and I spend millions, let's say I win or they win, I just don't know if that's important.
COOPER: Why wait so long to apologize? It's been a couple weeks. You could have come out --
STERLING: That's a very good question. I just am so emotionally distraught.
And the reason it's hard for me, very hard for me, is that I'm wrong. I caused the problem. I don't know how to correct it.
COOPER: Do you trust people? I mean, there have been a couple phone recordings just in the last week or two that have come out of people you talked to on the phone, or seems to be your voice, who then sold it to Radar Online or TMZ.
And I hear that, and I think, do you have anyone you trust around you?
STERLING: I don't give interviews. The only one that I know that I talked to is Magic Johnson. COOPER: You have talked to him?
STERLING: Twice. And then, yeah -- he's --
COOPER: Did you apologize to him?
STERLING: He knew the girl he said. He knew the girl well.
COOPER: Did you apologize to him or --
STERLING: Well, if I said anything wrong, I'm sorry. He's a good person. And he -- what am I going to say?
Has he done everything he can do to help minorities? I don't think so. But I'll say it. I'll say it, you know. He's great.
But I just don't think he is a good example for the children of Los Angeles.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: All right, there's a whole lot --
PEREIRA: So much to talk about.
BERMAN: -- to digest here.
We're lucky. Anderson Cooper is here to talk about this with us right now.
Anderson, I'm not sure -- I know what I fully expected from Donald Sterling speaking, but one thing I definitely did not expect was him to go negative on Magic Johnson.
COOPER: I did not expect that, as well, and he actually goes a lot farther than what you have just seen, and that will be on tonight.
But, yeah, and it was really surprising. And I'm not sure where that comes from. The only reason I first brought up Magic Johnson in the interview was because he was referenced on the original tape.
Donald Sterling claims that he's had two subsequent conversations with Magic Johnson. There are some issues he has about one of those conversations.
But he certainly has a quite negative view in this interview of Magic Johnson, and it -- I must say it caught me by surprise.
PEREIRA: I think it caught us all by surprise. And it makes you scratch your head.
I'm curious. Oftentimes there's a lot said and done before the interview. I'm curious what was his demeanor like when he arrived and was about to go on-camera with you. What was that interaction like?
COOPER: You know, I think he -- I had met with him the week -- about a week and a half ago, so -- and that -- we had thought he might do an interview then.
He said he wasn't up to it. He didn't feel right about doing it. That was the day that V. Stiviano decided to do an interview with Barbara Walters, and they actually arrived together, V. Stiviano and Donald Sterling.
He said that was the last day that he saw her. He clearly does not trust her anymore, does not believe in her anymore, feels a sense of betrayal by her.
But there was no -- I had that conversation with him for about 10 minutes a week or so ago. And we got the call that he was willing to talk. Some other folks from CNN had been in contact with him.
And, you know, he was certainly nervous about doing it. He wasn't sure it was the right thing. He wasn't sure what exactly he was going to say.
He had clearly given some thought to what he was going to say. He clearly wanted to have the apology very quickly up front in the interview. That was, you know, foremost on his mind.
And early on I tried to sort of move onto specifics about the tape, and he very clearly wanted to get out what he wanted to say about the apology and a little bit about his background before starting to answer specific questions.
BERMAN: The demeanor, though, is very much at issue right now as is his state of mind, because his wife to Barbara Walters is suggesting that he's not really all there anymore.
Do you get a sense that he wasn't with it?
COOPER: Right, his estranged wife has said perhaps early-onset dementia. I didn't see any of that. Look, you have to know somebody well in order to really pick up signs like that.
Certainly if I go into an interview and I sense somebody is not competent, I would not proceed with the interview. I had -- there was none of that feeling. He's completely competent during the interview.
I would change directions sometimes and ask one question and then a few minutes later ask another question. He would often go back to the previous question, say I want to finish my answer to the previous question.
It wasn't as if he was befuddled in any way. He knew what he wanted to say and took his time saying it. We spoke for well over an hour.
PEREIRA: So there's more -- more than an hour. We're going to see a lot of that tonight.
PEREIRA: I have a feeling there's going to be more for him to say and others will have to say after this airs. COOPER: It's very possible. I don't know if he'll speak more.
He really -- we gave him the opportunity to say all that was on his mind, and, you know, we wanted to give him a fair shot and ask him tough questions, and he sat and answered them all.
BERMAN: It's interesting. You say he was very deliberate. He knew what he was doing.
It makes the Magic Johnson comments all that much more interesting --
PEREIRA: It really does.
BERMAN: -- if he was as deliberate as you say he was.
COOPER: Yeah, and he came back to it several times in the interview. I mean, it wasn't --
PEREIRA: That was one of his talking points apparently.
COOPER: Well, I don't know that it was a talking point, but it was certainly something that -- I don't think it was something he had planned to say, but it certainly is something that he came back to repeatedly in the interview.
PEREIRA: I want to know what's behind that.
COOPER: Needless to say, this is an interview that everyone is going to need to see tonight on "AC 360." That's at 8:00 Eastern time.
Anderson's going to be back at the top of the next hour with more from this interview, a lot to dissect. And, of course, again, remember to watch "AC 360" tonight, 8:00 Eastern.
PEREIRA: Thanks for being here, Anderson.
PEREIRA: For the first time we're seeing what appear to be the faces of some of the more than 200 girls who were kidnapped in Nigeria.
The terror group Boko Haram has just released this video. You can see there the girls are shown reciting portions of the Koran, chanting praises to Allah. They're wearing the Islamic hijab headdress.
The leader of Boko Haram appears in a separate part of the video but never with the girls. He offers to exchange those schoolgirls for Boko Haram prisoners.
BERMAN: A Texas fire that put a whole town at risk is 75 percent contained this morning. At least seven people left their homes in the Panhandle town Fritch yesterday.
One hundred homes were destroyed. Strong winds may force more evacuations, but firefighters are getting some help today. Some cooler weather is moving in. PEREIRA: The Washington Monument is officially back open to tourists almost three years after a series of repairs were made. An earthquake, of course you'll recall, caused more than 150 cracks. To repair it cost about $15 million.
If you want to check it out, the monument's hours have been extended this summer from 9:00 a.m. in the morning until 10:00 at night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With the 249th pick in the 2014 NFL draft, the St. Louis Rams select Michael Sam, defensive end, Missouri.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: It is official. Michael Sam is now the first openly gay player drafted to the NFL. He was with his boyfriend when he got the news, and they did share a kiss, and there were those who did not like this image that you're seeing right now.
We will share with you some of the comments that they have made, the player reaction, reaction from around the world, because this is now a thing today, this discussion.
PEREIRA: It is. It's interesting to see how some of the players reacted. I don't believe it's all of them.
BERMAN: Not one bit, no.
PEREIRA: It's a few, very few.
We'll talk about it coming up on this show with LZ Granderson. Looking forward to that.
Coming up, also, new video said to show the schoolgirls kidnapped in Nigeria, a live report from Nigeria ahead @ THIS HOUR.
BERMAN: The terrorists who kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls are now making demands. We have some newly released video to show you. It is said to show some of the captured girls. They're heard singing and chanting praises to Allah and reciting portions of the Koran.
PEREIRA: You can imagine some of the parents are just desperate to see if their child is among those girls. At least they know these girls are alive.
The leader of the terrorist group holding the girls is now offering some sort of a prisoner swap.
Want to bring in Isha Sesay. She's in Nigeria's capital of Abuja. Good to have you with us, Isha. This story is so important for us to be talking about.
Tell us more about this video we've just shown. It really could be our first look of these girls since they were abducted from the school, four weeks ago.
I know authorities are going to be combing over this. What more can be seen and heard on this video?
ISHA SESAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Michaela. Hi, John.
Yes, no doubt about it that authorities will be forensically going through this video. What is clear is that there are over a hundred girls in this video, held together in an open space.
This video is filmed in broad daylight. I think it really does speak to the brazenness of Boko Haram that that they could put that many of the girls on tape, altogether. It shows that they feel that they are totally in control of this situation.
You see the girls seated, reciting parts of the Koran, making declarations of faith, but you also see in another part of the video three girls who, one after the other, are asked questions by a male voice off-camera, asked about Islam and the Koran and it is quite clear, John and Michaela, that all of these girls are under duress.
These girls are frightened. These girls are in the hands of Boko Haram. This is a group that has laid siege to northern Nigeria for many years now killing at least 1, 500 people just this year alone. We do not know where they are. No identifiers in this video as to where they could be. Also in this video in a separate part we see the man we believe to be the leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, in a separate space. That is where he utters those words that you will not get these girls back unless you release our brethren first. It's sickening. It's heart wrenching for families, Michaela, as you rightly said they will be looking at this and taking this as a sense of hope that girls are still alive. Another point I want to stress for our viewers watching us, 90 percent of the girls in that school that were taken by Boko Haram on April 14th are Christian. So what we could be looking at here are Christian girls who are now being made to wear Islamic dress, the head covering, reciting portions of the koran and making these declarations of faith. All of it is just nauseating and heart wrenching.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: Right now the whole world is watching this. A lot of the world is trying to participate in the search and rescue operation at this point. The state department just confirmed that 16 out of 17 member coordination team is on the ground. Can you give us an update on this international effort?
SESAY: What we know is that the American team is on the ground joining an interagency team assessing the situation on the ground and advising the Nigerian government on planning operations and really trying to figure out where the gaps in the Nigerian capabilities are. Nigerians, John and Michaela, are still firmly in the lead of this search and rescue mission.
MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN HOST: Isha Sesay, with the latest on that. Thank you so much for that report, Isha. We appreciate it. We should point out a few of the girls at that boarding school were able to escape the militants the night of that raid in Nigeria. One of the very brave young women spoke exclusively to CNN. She tells our Nima Elbagir how she made that dash to freedom after being loaded on a cargo truck along with those other girls.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, they say OK -- enter this lorry we go. I will drop down
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That was really brave of you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, we would rather die than go. We ran in the bush.
ELBAGIR: You ran in a bush. And what happened then?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We ran and ran and we were gone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PEREIRA: So very brave but she's still terrified. You can hear fear in her voice. She was too afraid to describe what her captors was wearing and says she won't go back to that school if it were to open again because she's too afraid. That's exactly what those terrorists want.
BERMAN: The sound in her voice is the most heartbreaking.
Ahead for us @ THIS HOUR, this is a first for the NFL. An openly gay player, Michael Sam, gets drafted. Some people not keeping quiet about what happened while he was getting drafted. We'll tell you what they're saying next.
PEREIRA: I'm going to go out on a limb and say it's one of the most talked about kisses ever. Michael Sam celebrates with his boyfriend after finding out that he's been drafted by the St. Louis Rams.
BERMAN: There were a lot of people who thought this was a nice moment. Others not so much.
PEREIRA: Former Super Bowl champion Derrick Ward tweeted, I'm sorry but that Michael Sam is no bueno for doing that on national TV. Man you got little kids looking at the draft. I can't believe ESPN allowed that to happen.
BERMAN: And current player, Miami Safety Don Jones expressed his disappointment tweeting, horrible and omg after the kiss was aired. He has since deleted those comments and Dolphins move fast. Really fast. Ordered Jones to pay a fine. Barred him from team activities until he completes sensitivity training. Jones, already, in less than 24 hours after he apologized profusely saying comments were inappropriate and wishing Sam all of the best in his NFL career.
PEREIRA: Should the NFL be stepping up to make sure players are supportive and not publicly hostile to this new reality of an openly gay player in their league?
BERMAN: Our commentator, LZ Granderson joins us now from Chicago. I got to say, I was surprised by the speed with which this all took place.
PEREIRA: It happened so fast.
BERMAN: He tweets it. They penalize him. He apologizes and, boom, it's over.
LZ GRANDERSON, CNN COMMENTATOR: I would like to think that the Miami Dolphins have infrastructure now to address these sort of concerns within their franchise given what happened recently with Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito. Some people are wondering if the NFL came down heavy on the franchise and acted quickly. I would think the franchise learned from its past and doesn't want that image anymore.
PEREIRA: Do you think they have? That's the question, I mean we are usually so cynical. Do you think what we've seen in the past, the Richie Incognito situation, do you think that they have now realized this is a different world or do you think this is going to stick and other players are getting it?
GRANDERSON: Well, you know, I think it's a combination of things. We can't spend too much time talking about what a second-year seventh round pick tweeted. We have to look at the NFL as a whole. As a whole, I think, there are certainly some players who won't tweet or do anything in public that will look negative in regards to Michael Sam. They may be fearful for fines or fearful for their jobs. That's present. What is also true is there are a lot of men in the NFL who just don't give a damn. They just don't. Truth of the matter is they already played with openly gay players they just aren't open to the public but open on their team. I know this personally. We also know for a fact it's been a long history way back since Vince Lombardi where players have been gay, coaches and other players have known and they have dealt with it. You know, I think by in large what you're seeing is just an NFL that has decided to go we have known this. It's out. Let's move on.
BERMAN: LZ, there are people saying out there there's a double standard. Tim Tebow when he came into the league, there were a lot of people but I don't remember players but a lot of people making fun for him for his overt religion and they didn't get backlash that people critical of Michael Sam are getting. What do you make of that?
GRANDERSON: I don't necessarily know if that's true or not. As a columnist myself, I always defended Tim Tebow and the way that he expressed himself. I don't think that's true that people haven't been fined for teasing Tim Tebow. I don't see a lot of people killing themselves because they are wrestling with being Christian but they are killing themselves for wrestling with being gay.
PEREIRA: LZ Granderson it is always so great to have you with us. Talk to you again soon.
BERMAN: Makes an important point. Also an e-mail where there were NFL players that don't care but many supportive of Michael Sam and many people out there commentating on that.
PEREIRA: That's the thing about twitter. One person.
Ahead @ THIS HOUR, Donald Sterling talking to CNN about his racist rant and we're hearing from his estranged wife Shelly as well. She says the divorce petition is signed and ready to fight to keep her share of the team. We'll discuss it all.